Last December, we announced that Jaime Saloff will be attending The GLVWG WriteStuff Writer’s Conference™, March 24-25, 2017, with “What’s the Right Type of Publishing for my Book”, and “Self Publishing on a Budget”.
GLVWG member, Mitzi Flye, had an opportunity to interview Mitzi about her views on the writer as an entrepreneur and her business that helps boost your self-published book, Bookectomy™
MF: Thank you so much for being a presenter for The Write Stuff conference. Your bio and your website seem to show that your business caters to women. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I wondered how that happened. Was that a conscious decision or did it “just happen”?
There’s two answers. The first is that it was a marketing decision. The more focused one can be in marketing, the easier it is to find and connect with a target audience. (This is also important when marketing books.) However, my younger son, who helps me with my graphics, recently said I was being sexist, so we changed the logo to include a male. (He is, of course, not pregnant like the women, but he is holding a bouncing baby book.) In addition, I guessed. I thought I worked with about 1/10th the amount of men as women over the years. But after my son’s prodding, I went and counted. Turns out I worked with about 50/50 men and women. I seem to get along very well with critical ex-military, chiropractors, psychology specialists, and cranky lawyers, where on the women side I tend to work with a lot of doctors, healers, and the metaphysically inclined. After nearly twenty-years in the business, I find I can work with almost anyone, men or women.
MF: What made you decide to guide self-published authors?
I’m not sure if you want the long or short answer there. Ha! I have been a writer most of my life. I “wrote” my first book at age three. I typed my first bio at eight. I pretended to publish books in the third grade. Along my road to getting published for real, I met up with an author who was willing to pay me to help him do things. (Cool!) I started out earning $25 a month. At first I designed his newsletter, then his website. When print-on-demand came on the scene, I said to him, “you should be doing this with your books.” At that time, he was photocopying them by the hundreds at a local copy shop. I had the software and the means. He had the books. It worked out so well, he began sending clients my way. Eventually I got so busy, I couldn’t help him with his work any more. However, there is another side of the story. My first two traditionally published books were not good experiences. I became disgruntled about the traditional side of things, and honestly, the deeper I have gone into it, the more I appreciate the freedoms and the profits of the self-publishing side.
MF: You say that your clients are more entrepreneurs. Is it hard to get women to view themselves as a business-owner?
Not at all. It’s hard to get them to see themselves as authors. Many of them take time out of their busy lives to create a book, then go back to what they were doing. I find there are several different kinds of authors. This surprised me when I first recognized it. There are what I call “authors authors.” These are the writers who dream of writing the Great American Novel and who spend years honing their words, mingling with authors, and showing up at writer’s conferences. On the entrepreneurial side, it is often a monetary decision. The book may be ghostwritten or may be a compilation of writers with the intent of getting more visible, getting more clients, adding to the bottom-line. Most of them don’t “dream of writing a book” — some of them put it off and dread it. In fact, an entrepreneurial author may not care at all about the income of a book if it provides them with visibility. In turn visibility adds to their bottom-line. For example, having a book may bring them high-paying speaking gigs.
MF: What is the biggest mistake most self-published authors make?
There are a lot of them. I think the top one might be not realizing the importance of quality and professionalism. This extends beyond just writing the book to its presentation and even how they present themselves. They don’t realize just how much quality and professionalism matter. They don’t see how these two values can earn them more readers and fans, more visibility, and more cash. I will be talking a lot about what this means in real terms at the conference.
MF: How do you see publishing (independent, self or traditional) changing in the future?
Good question. One thing is for sure, there will continue to be change. I’d love to see ebooks get more beautiful. I hate stripping out all the “pretty” from a print book to make it work well as an ebook. I think this will happen. iBooks can be beautiful, but you can only sell them via Apple. Kindle has options that can help with comics, kids’ books, and the like. Like Apple, these don’t have a common, multi-platform format. It doesn’t make good profit sense at this time to create special, separately formatted books when one epub will work on them all. Right now I feel a tension between authors wanting more appreciation for their labor (money and recognition) while publishers and retailers always seem to want more of the pie. They seem to have forgotten that without authors, there are no book. There is now software that will “write a book for you” (basically it takes information from a website and makes it into a book). I hate seeing this because I feel it devalues the author. At some point, traditional publishers need to figure out what ebooks are REALLY all about and how they work and how to market books better to the general public. I believe they will, and in doing so, they will be able to keep and pay quality authors. Right now, they are so focused on the bottom-line they are losing part of what made the publishing industry so great in its day. I feel like there is always the “next big thing” out there in technology land. I have said we are not necessarily waiting for the next “what,” we are waiting for the next “who.” Who will be the next Steve Jobs, the next Jeff Bezos, the next Bill Gates? They are out there just waiting to show us what’s next, and that will lead books and writing into whole new stages of development.
MF: When you have time to read, what type of books (fiction/nonfiction) do you read? Who’s your favorite author and what could self-published authors learn from them?
I read a lot of non-fiction, but some fiction as well. I remember once buying a couple of thick computer books and the clerk thinking they were something I had to read for work or school. She couldn’t understand how that could bring enjoyment to someone. (It did.) I read a lot of marketing books, but also books on health and wellness, metaphysics, self-help, biographies, and spirituality. I tend to read about 10 books at once, reading a bit here and there depending on what I feel like at any given moment. My favorite authors include Nancy Springer, M. E. Kerr, Robert Cormier (though I haven’t read any of the latter two in some years). I love love love Barbara Sher’s “Wishcraft” and wish I would have found that book 20 years ago. Although I swore I never would, I now read most of my books digitally, and on my iPhone. Nevertheless, sometimes I just love holding a book in my hand, appreciating how it was designed, and how it just works. Being on the self-publishing side of things, I’ve always been a bit of a maverick who is outside the lines. I like to show authors aspects of publishing they maybe weren’t aware of and how to capitalize on what they are doing, regardless of how it’s published. I’m not sure I would tell anyone considering self-publishing to look at any one author as an example of what to do. . . hmmm. . . maybe Timothy Ferris and what he did with Four Hour Workweek, but even then, it would be a long conversation and not without its pitfalls. It would also depend on what aspect of writing/publishing/marketing they were asking about. There is not really any one answer for this. Every author and every book may need a different consideration. That’s why I like to talk to authors individually to see what their goals and ambitions are, as well as what their strengths and weaknesses are. From there, I am more able to guide them. I will have the opportunity to do this at the GLVWG conference. I look forward to that.
You can learn more about Jaime Saloff’s process for boosting your self-published book at her website, Bookectomy™. You can contact Jaime at firstname.lastname@example.org, checkout her Facebook Page, and follow her Twitter Feed.