Business name: Marin Bookworks
Book Title(s): The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide
Website URL: http://www.thebookdesigner.com
Social Media Links:
Twitter: @JFBookman (http://www.twitter.com/jfbookman)
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
I have a long history in graphic arts, design, and book publishing. In the 1980s I was working in the book publishing business and decided to self-publish my first book, Body Types: The Enneagram of Essence Types because I knew how to publish books, and also knew that no publisher would be interested in this niche title. Later, I started my own publishing company, then founded Marin Bookworks, a book design and consulting business. In 2009 I realized there was a real lack of practical advice on how books are put together for the flood of authors who wanted to use the new tools of publishing. In response, I started my blog at TheBookDesigner.com. After several years blogging to an increasingly large audience, I set up a site at BookDesignTemplates.com, where we sell predesigned book templates and other tools for authors. Along with training programs and speaking at industry events, I continue to try to educate authors about the nuts and bolts of book publishing, as well as how to monetize their work.
Can you describe a typical day in your life? My day starts with about an hour of meditation and exercise, a great way to get lined up for the day. I then head down to a local Starbucks where I spend the morning drinking green tea and writing, answering questions from readers, and slashing my way through my “inbox jungle.” I make a quick lunch, then settle in for the afternoon devoted to clients’ projects, working with my assistant on blog projects, and then concentrating on a number of projects I have under development.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
Expressing myself creatively, making a difference in the small world I inhabit, and inspiring writers to overcome the obstacles to getting their work out into the marketplace.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
My publishing mentor, the late Felix Morrow, was a great inspiration; writer and friend David Kherdian, whose book I published long ago; Roy Friedlander, my father and a printer in the old-school tradition; Suzanne Murray, my writing coach, who showed me how to unlock my creative energies; Jeff Walker, who taught me about internet marketing; and Yaro Starak, who set me on the road to blogging success. But really, there are so many others who inspire me every day.
What is your latest book about?
My latest book is The Self-Publisher’s Ultimate Resource Guide coauthored with Betty Sargent. It’s the largest collection of resources for indie authors available and continues to grow as we update it regularly.
What inspired you to write your book?
Every day I field questions from authors about how to navigate the world of book publishing, and many of these queries are requests to find vendors who can help with one or another part of their publishing project. That was the impetus to create the Resource Guide, which gives me a much more comprehensive way to answer these requests.
Can you describe your writing process?
Most of the writing I’ve been doing for the last few years has been for my blog, although I’ve also used the articles on the blog to create a book, too (A Self-Publisher’s Companion: Expert Advice for Authors Who Want to Publish). My process usually starts with a question I want to answer, a process that needs to be explained, or an opinion I want to share. For complex process articles, I usually start with a mind map or outline; for others I might need only a few bullet points to guide me, then I start writing. At this point I’ve written more than 1,200 articles for the blog, so once I get started I usually just keep going until the article is complete. My articles typically run about 1,000 words and take about 40 minutes to write. I format as I go, so there’s very little editing needed at the end.
Can you share some self-publishing tips for our readers?
- Know your readers and what they expect.
- If you don’t have one, start a blog (and start collecting email addresses) today. This is almost a necessity for nonfiction authors and will make everything about your publishing process better.
- Bake your marketing plan into the book, before you even write it, if possible. Who is it for? What problem does it solve? How will you distribute it? What makes it stand out from other books on the subject? You should be able to answer all these questions before you start your first draft.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment; you can’t get every single thing right the first time through.
- Have fun.
Anything writers should NOT do when self-publishing their book?
Don’t assume that “self-publishing” means you have to do everything. Many of the most successful self-publishing authors rely on a team of professionals to help them create and market books that can stand toe-to-toe with books from traditional publishers.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
I’m an avid cook and baker, and I’ve been told my biscotti (twice-baked Italian cookies) and short ribs are the best anywhere.
What’s next for you?
More tools to make authors’ publishing and marketing tasks faster, easier, and more fun. I’ve got about 6 products in development and I can’t wait to start showing them to authors.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Define success for yourself; don’t take anyone else’s idea for your own. I’ve helped authors publish many kinds of books and, regardless of the number of books sold, there are many ways to “win” at self-publishing.