By: James Martin
And so finally, the day has dawned. It may have taken weeks, months, even years – we guitar teachers are not known for having copious amounts of free time, contrary to what many might think.
But now the manuscript is complete, the audio is all recorded, the graphics and photographs are all in place and the cover is ready, it’s time to publish.
This is where things get tricky – there are a variety of options open, and while I can’t pretend to be an expert on all of them, I can at least offer a few insights into the advantages and disadvantages of each. There are basically three routes you can take:
- Cottage industry
- Traditional publication
- Self Publishing
This basically means selling PDFs and audio content over your own website, supported by whatever social media presence you have (check out Matt Warnock’s excellent articles on building a Facebook page, YouTube channel and Twitter presence for more on this topics).
I would advise most teachers to use this approach as a starting point – I created a zip file for each book with a PDF and all the audio files as one download, and hosted them on Payloadz.com.
Payloadz is partnered with PayPal, and is an excellent site to use for ecommerce – code can be embedded into your site quite easily, and they handle all the transactions.
This does mean paying a small commission on each download, but the peace of mind that comes from knowing any technical or payment issues are somebody else’s problem.
This means hawking your book around one of the big publishers looking for a book deal.
This is exactly as much fun as you’d expect, and exactly as productive as you’d expect.
By all means investigate it – and honourable mention to Spartan Press as the only publisher with enough common courtesy to actually reply to me – but be aware you are dealing with a largely closed shop.
A useful resource to check out is the Music Education Expo – I visited the website, made a list of all the publishers, and emailed each of them. Still waiting.
This means using a site like Lulu, Amazon, Bookbaby or any of a hundred others to get your book published in electronic and print form.
I went with Lulu after exhaustive research got me largely nowhere – mired in a morass of conflicting opinions, and with the impression that there really isn’t much in it between any of the main players.
Lulu has an easily accessible website (I just couldn’t get on with Amazon’s Createspace site), is accredited and legitimate, and gets the book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and many others.
Don’t be fooled though – you’re still going to be doing the marketing work yourself unless you plan on shelling out several hundred pounds for a “marketing solution.”
The books themselves have come out pretty well, after grappling with the complexities of the cover design wizard, and the costs are enough to let me be competitive and still achieve a decent profit margin.
An important note here – before getting into teaching full time, I worked in a local music store.
Most books are sold to a shop at a 25% discount, with preferential rates of 40%.
I’ve been able to offer both my Zero Point volumes at 40% discount, with the result that they’ve stocked them (not in quantities that let me retire, but still).
It’s very much worth your time to cultivate relationships with local music shops to achieve this.
I’m currently pursuing my local Waterstones manager with the intent of establishing a similar connection.
Pop in, chat with the staff, buy some strings and a few picks – do not underestimate the benefits of a good relationship with your local music shop.
Help them and they’ll help you.
So that’s pretty much it for my store of knowledge – please visit my website at http://www.jmguitartuition.com, find me on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/JMGuitarTuition, tweet me at @jmguitartuition, and Ill be more than happy to answer any questions you have for me, just email mailto:jmguitartuitionuk@yahoo./co.uk.
Good luck everyone, and happy scribbling!
This article has been independently supplied by the author and expresses the author’s own views and opinions; the article does not purport to represent RGT’s views or policies.