Monthly Archives: January 2008

Publishing Nonduality Books – Part 4

Want an established publisher? Who are they? How to attract them? Both topics are addressed.

How to Attract a Publisher

Write a book proposal.

An excellent book is How to Write a Book Proposal, by Michael Larsen. Read the reviews, including the negative ones. Investigate other books on the subject.

Writing a book proposal exposes you to new ways of thinking about your book, your audience, and publishing.

Publishers of Nonduality Books

Sentient Publications
Non-duality Press
Monkfish Publishing
Sounds True
O Books
Watkins Publishers
Blue Dolphin Publishing
New World Library
Beyond Description
Paragon House
Inner Directions

A couple of larger publishing houses are included in the list above. I have not included the very large publishing houses, such as Bantam, Random House, Harper.

Each publisher chooses different kinds of nonduality books. Carefully consider whether a publisher is right for your book. Some prefer submission by a literary agent. Next I’ll discuss the benefits of an agent and how to get one.

Publishing Nonduality Books – Part 3

Here is a realistic plan for self-publishing your nonduality book. The elements include

Expectations
Editing
Design
Proofreading
Indexing
Promotion (Blog, Newsletter, Website, Articles, Nonduality.com system)

A few elements not included are

Legal
Pricing
Sales/distribution
Shipping
Customer relations

Expectations: Unless you have a powerful promotional machine, don’t expect your book to be the next Power of Now. It may become so strictly on word of mouth, but that possibility is not so firmly in your control. A realistic expectation is that you will sell one or two hundred books. Maybe a couple thousand if you take ongoing promotional efforts.

Editing: If you have the nearly one thousand dollars, get your book professionally edited. Find an editor you like, who understands your book, and with whom you work well. Don’t rely on a friend or family member to edit your book. Find out what “professional editor” means and seek one out.

Design: Get the cover and interior of your book professionally designed, if you have another thousand or so dollars. If you design these elements on your own, keep them simple. Don’t stick a flower somewhere … just because. Keep within your artistic capabilities. Again, be careful about engaging a friend/family member as designer.

Proofreading: If it’s in your budget, hire a professional proofreader. If not, this is where family and friends may be useful. They can spot errors in spelling and grammar. Read your manuscript at least a dozen times, looking for errors. In the end, your book will most likely still have a few mistakes. Correct them in future printings.

Indexing: If your book includes layers of themes and sub-themes, people, places, events, an array of happenings, rich detail, then seriously consider an index. The cost is about $4 per indexable page if you hire a professional indexer. Hire an indexer who is comfortable with the teaching of nonduality. Don’t hire just any indexer. Indexers specialize in certain subjects. However, many indexers will take any work that comes their way, regardless of subject. Indexers know that most authors figure an indexer is an indexer. An indexer who isn’t comfortable with the differences between consciousness, awareness, enlightenment, and awakening, isn’t going to be any good to you. Make personal contact with your indexer, just as you would with your book editor.

Promotion: Most authors don’t like promotion. I have made limited promotion easy for authors, free. The nonduality.com system includes listing of your book on the nonduality.com home page, one or more excerpts in the Nonduality Highlights newsletter, a blurb, possibly a review, possibly a phone interview. The Nonduality Salon email forum can also be used to announce your other promotional efforts, such as your blog, email forum, website, and public appearances. There’s no charge for any of that. If, additionally, you want a display ad on nonduality.com, the cost is $20 per month. Write me if you’re interested in any of these offerings.

Next entry I’m going to write about getting an established publisher for your nonduality book. I’ll list a few of them. I’ll also tell you about books that will help you write a book proposal.

Publishing Nonduality Books – Part 2

Where is the line between self-publishing and starting a serious publishing company? The latter is a completely developed business.

Most authors of nonduality books self-publish. Although self-publishing means you start a publishing company, usually the company is not completely developed. Nor does it have to be. Rarely would it be.

A minimal grade of development would include uploading a Word file to Lulu.com, and printing inexpensive copies as they are ordered. Promotion would be minimal, perhaps mention of the book in a few online forums. Books could be sold through the lulu.com online store. Perhaps no professional design or editing will have been done.

A medium grade of development of a self-publishing endeavor might mean subsidy publishing with a reputable company, an attractively designed cover and interior, professional editing, promotion through online ads. iUniverse is an appropriate printer/publisher at this level.

A high grade of development would involve a high degree of professionalism at all levels: design, editing, promotion.

In starting your publishing company, create the level of development that time, money, and desire allow. Decide which of the elements of book publishing you wish to focus on. Besides writing the book, major elements to research include:

A mission statement
A website
Title writing
Subsidiary rights and other legal matters
Cover design
Interior design
Editing
Copyediting
Galley correction
Proofreading
Hiring an indexer
Printing books
Shipping books
Handling returns
Reprinting your book

The promotional elements include

Pre-publication copies
Test marketing
Getting reviews
Advertising – online and offline
Hiring a publicist
Public speaking
Radio and TV interviews
Getting a distributor
Getting your book on online bookstores such as Amazon.

Here are some useful books and websites on self-publishing:

Eric, in his comment, mentioned the book, How To Get Happily Published.

I’ve enjoyed Dan Poynter’s book, available at
www.parapublishing.com

A list of self-publishing books at Amazon.com is here. Do your own research. Check out a few from your library. Buy the ones you like.

Thousands of websites tell about self-publishing. Here are the websites of a couple of reputable book printers/publishers. They’re different. Compare their offerings.
Lulu.com
iUniverse

In the next entry, a realistic and specific plan for self-publishing and promoting your nonduality book.

Publishing Nonduality Books – Part 1

Over the years I’ve received many emails asking me where and how to get nonduality books published.

By far, within the nonduality literary genre, the number one way is to self-publish. A second publishing avenue is to get a “real” publisher to handle your book. A third way is to get a “real” publisher and to share publishing expenses with them. A fourth way is to get a literary agent. A fifth way is an enhancement of self-publishing: starting a serious publishing company.

The literary agent route is best. The second best way is to share publication expenses with an established publisher. The third best way is to have the publisher handle all expenses. The least successful way of publishing, in my opinion, is to self-publish and try to do everything yourself.

You can also start your own serious publishing company. You would do some of the work yourself and outsource whatever you are not expert at: editing, proofreading, index writing, book design, public relations, fulfillment of orders. Heck, you can even outsource the writing of the book by a ghost writer, if you want.

I’ll talk about these options in upcoming entries. I’m going to start by talking about self-publishing compared to starting your own serious publishing company, and where the line between the two exists.

Branding Nonduality

Who is doing a notable job of branding in the nonduality genre? Ken Wilber has a solid two-part brand: his name and the term “Integral.”

Recently Peter Fenner has been branding Radiant Mind very clearly with both a book and a course of the same name. “Peter Fenner”, the guy, is less of a brand than “Ken Wilber”, in my opinion.

Deepak Chopra is in Oprah territory with his branding.

Eckhart Tolle? He sells a lot of books, but how’s his branding? Is Eckhart himself as strong a brand as Oprah or Chopra? The “Now” was a budding brand, but has he followed through with it? Compare Tolle to Oprah and Chopra and you decide on the strength of his brand, or even what his brand is.

Dennis Waite is doing an excellent job of sticking to “Advaita” as his brand. His books have Advaita in the title. He is a moderator of the Advaitin email forum. His website is advaita.org.uk. He writes for other Advaita websites. Strong, smart branding. When you think of Advaita, you think of Dennis Waite (among others, of course).

A branding effort that has me puzzled is that of a new and beautiful website, 9choirs.com. It is truly a mainstream nonduality website. They have cool articles. But when you first land on the site, do you know what it is about within the first two or three seconds? 9choirs mentions beliefnet.com and yelp.com as the types of websites they do not want to be like. However, if you land on either of those websites, you will know within a couple of seconds exactly what they are about. 9choirs, in my opinion, could use stronger branding. A brand has to stand for something immediately identifiable.

A purpose of branding is to effectively and efficiently distribute the information your audience wants and needs.

That concludes this brief series on branding.

Classic branding

Branding can make business and communication simple.

A classic example of excellent branding is Oprah. The Oprah brand applies to a tv show, a production company, a magazine, and a book club. When the Oprah brand is placed on a product or service, what more needs to be said? The brand speaks for itself. If there were different names, looks, feels to each one of Oprah’s businesses, a tremendous amount of energy would be required to market each one and to integrate all of them. That’s the power of branding and the power of simplicity.

Branding is an important aspect of a business education. A good introductory article is at http://marketing.about.com/cs/brandmktg/a/whatisbranding.htm.

Next I’ll talk about branding in the world of nonduality. I’ll give a few examples, but mostly leave it up to you to decide what constitutes effective branding.