POINT­ERS ON PUB­LISH­ING: 5 tools ev­ery­one in the pub­lish­ing in­dus­try should be us­ing

Jamaica Gleaner - - ARTS & EDUCATION - Corine La Font Con­trib­u­tor

LIKE ANY trades­man, if you are with­out your tools, you can’t get to work. The same ap­plies to any­one with a job, busi­ness, or even a hobby and even the sim­ple daily task of ev­ery­day life – you need your tools. As an au­thor, you, too, need your tools in your au­thor tool­box, and I am go­ing to share five main tools that, in my opin­ion, are help­ful to a new­bie as well as an es­tab­lished writer.

1. Word­press – This is a plat­form that is used for blog­ging and for build­ing web­sites. It is truly user friendly to a new­bie and if you are a non-techie, you would love us­ing this. Word­press.com is free to use and you can have it set up within min­utes. For those of you who are just start­ing to write and who are a bit un­sure of whether your ma­te­rial, thoughts, and ideas are worth shar­ing or would cap­ture an au­di­ence, I would strongly sug­gest start­ing with this blog­ging plat­form and shar­ing your work. You may just garner com­ments, likes, and the con­fi­dence over time to be­lieve that you do have some­thing that is worth writ­ing about that an au­di­ence would be in­ter­ested in read­ing and buy­ing.

ON­LINE COM­MU­NI­TIES

2. So­cial Me­dia – Noth­ing hap­pens these days with­out so­cial me­dia. If you want to know what’s trend­ing, check out Twit­ter and Face­book. If you want to join a pro­fes­sional com­mu­nity and in­ter­act, join Linkedin and Google Plus. For au­thors, a place like Goodreads is a great place to start. There are lots of book com­mu­ni­ties where au­thors hang out and share, and, by the way, it’s also a good place to get re­views – if you are look­ing for some.

I found this re­ally cool blog that shares a gallery of 10 so­cial net­works for writ­ers. Check it out here: http://mash­able.com/ 2012/01/23/so­cial-net­work­swrit­ers/#W1AXf0410gqi . And, hey, don’t only feel com­pelled to use the tra­di­tional, though pop­u­lar so­cial me­dia sites. Go over to YouTube and talk about your books on video; have book study groups if you are an es­tab­lished au­thor; or just choose your favourite book and cre­ate a dis­cus­sion. Now, you also have Face­book live. Make use of it!

IN­CREAS­ING SALES

3. Pub­lish­ing Sites – On­line plat­forms such as Ama­zon, Cre­ate Space, and Lulu.com are the three main places I would highly rec­om­mend to pub­lish your books. You are free to check out oth­ers, but I en­cour­age you to read through the terms and con­di­tions and fea­tures of the site. Ama­zon has been re­ally step­ping up its game in help­ing au­thors get their work no­ticed, and I am sure most of you are not aware or keep­ing up with this to in­crease your sales,es­pe­cially since Ama­zon is of­fer­ing all this to you for free!

Take ad­van­tage of au­thor­central; KDP; pro­mote events; do a buy one, get one at a dis­counted price of­fer and pre orders of books, and much more!

4. Book Launches – Don’t only at­tend your own book launch. Go to oth­ers – whether friend or foe. Learn from it and ap­ply for your next book launch or event. The thing is, if you sup­port some­one, you will get sup­port. Don’t be self­ish. Open your­self to sup­port­ing a fel­low au­thor, and that per­son, or maybe an­other, will most likely be help­ful to you when you re­ally need it.

5. Opt ins – I al­ways rec­om­mend this as it is the one sure-fire way to build sub­scribers and fol­low­ers to your site, blogs, and work and al­low for gen­er­a­tion of in­come. Use this tool to build re­la­tion­ships with your au­di­ence and you can be set for a long time. Give them value and keep them in­ter­ested with great con­tent, of­fers, and give­aways, and at the right time, you can ap­proach them with of­fers for sale. They would be kind enough to sup­port you. Not all would, but some will, and that’s a start.

I ‘Pretty peace­ful’ taken at Straw­berry Fields, Ja­maica.

PHO­TOS BY DAVE SEWELL

‘Soon to be hot choco­late’.

‘The land­ing’ down­town, Kingston.

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