149: “Why I Chose to Self-Publish” with Mark Herschberg

What Publishing Path is Right for You?

“As content creators, we need to take our content and make it available and accessible when, where, and how our audience wants to receive it.” – Mark Herschberg

As Mark Herschberg first started writing his book,The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You,” he made sure to call his friend Dorie Clark for advice, knowing that the best resource is always other authors.

And, sure enough, this critical step helped him to choose the right direction for his book, from the writing to the publishing to the marketing.

“All of us, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Mark says on this week’s episode of “Authors Who Lead.” “People have done it before. We can learn from the experts.”

But first, knowing the “why” of writing a book is important before it is even written, in order to inform the marketing, the voice, the tone, and even decisions around the layout and cover. In our conversation, Mark also explains his decision to self-publish and how treating his book as a long-term business has led to its success.

A Book Launch Is a Continuous Push

Whether authors self-publish or go the traditional publishing route, they will always need to be marketing their books.

Mark stresses how important it is to do the hard work of marketing and showing up for his business. Even after a press release at launch time, a professional website, being a guest on over 80 podcasts, and encouraging bulk corporate sales, Mark knows that it will be a continuous push over months — and years — in order to get his book into the hands of everyone who needs it.

The Future of Marketing Is Tech

In our interview, Mark discusses the web app that he developed to go along with his book. It takes content from his book and uploads it as daily words of inspiration and advice.

“In the end, people are not buying dead trees from me,” he says. “They are buying my ideas.”

The app’s content helps readers remember and apply the lessons learned from the book, he says, and he hopes to open up the use of his app to other authors to subscribe to in the future. 

Traditional vs. Self-Publishing?

I had a hard time telling whether Mark’s book was self-published. The cover, the content, and the layout were all extremely professional.

Mark had chosen to self-publish for the creative control he gained — not to mention a higher royalty rate and the freedom to deviate from the norm, such as offering his app for free. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing.

He decided not to use a print on demand, or POD, method. Instead, Mark researched and hired printers and distributors to get his books into the hands of readers. This was, by far, the most difficult part of his self-publishing journey, he said, but it worked well for his business and financial plans.

If you’re trying to decide between self-publishing or traditional publishing, keep in mind these three takeaways from my discussion with Mark:

  1. Make sure to research and decide whether you go the self-publishing or traditional publishing route before you write your book. This will help you make creative and business decisions as you go.
  2. Treat publishing a book like a business. Educate yourself in all aspects of writing, publishing and marketing your book.
  3. If you decide to self-publish, invest in yourself and your book to produce the most professional product you can.

What was your biggest takeaway from the episode? Which publishing route have you chosen: self-publishing or traditional publishing? Share in the comments below!

That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside of you that needs to be written, start by figuring out why you are writing this particular book. Don’t delay – choose your niche and start writing!

Episode Resources:

The Book: “The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You

Facebook: http://fb.me/TheCareerToolkitBook

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CareerToolkitBk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecareertoolkit

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hershey

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