Monday, September 3, 2012

Non-Writers Self-Publish, Too

 I dedicate a lot of my blog posts to writers in particular, but even those who aren't writers self-publish books just like any indie author. Books don't always have to contain a bunch of original text and a complicated storyline to be marketable. 

Other Types of Books

Not everyone's cut out to be a storyteller, but they may still have something to share. Believe it or not, non-writers make up a rich and vast portion of the self-publishing ebook market. 
  • Picture books.
Though perhaps much less glamorous on my black-and-white Kindle, picture books do make pretty good ebooks. In fact, indies who want to turn beautiful photos into a great picture book have whole lot more formatting work to do than the average fiction author. It's very difficult to pull off, but some brave illustrators, photographers and artists have managed to figure it out. 
  • Cookbooks
Essentially, cookbooks are a collection of recipes -- and writing one isn't at all like writing a book. Recipes are really instructions, and cookbooks are instruction manuals. Very popular instruction manuals, in fact, and cookbooks are great on ereaders because it's just so convenient. Some chefs may include some brief introductory text and maybe a note here or there, but in the main cookbooks aren't written by writers and authors. There isn't a whole lot of text in them, and it helps a great deal if you include pictures of the food.
  • Compilations.
When done legally, books of quotes, jokes and other compilations can be very entertaining. I reviewed an indie book containing tons of funny quotations several months ago and loved it. Short snippets of text gathered from the universe don't have to be original; they just have to be organized. Choose the text you quote well, and learn how to do it without getting into any legal trouble.
  • Diaries.
You may not be a writer, but you might know someone who is or was. Diaries make for great reading material, and in many cases the person releasing the book is not the original author of the work. Maybe your great-grandmother's diary has been favorite reading among the family for years. Why not self-publish it, and see if the rest of the world likes it, too? The Diary of Anne Frank was, after all, exactly that.

The same tricks that indie authors have to learn apply to non-writers who self-publish as well. You still have to promote yourself and your work, chase down reviewers and participate in forums designed for indie authors. Being an indie author doesn't necessarily mean being a fiction writer and teller of stories, though they do seem to make up the biggest chunk of the market. Whether you're a writer of original stories or not, participate in the self-publishing community and become a part of it -- because you already are.

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  1. Promoting and selling your book can be everything from word of mouth to a slick campaign costing thousands of dollars. But if you have written your book for the love of writing, you probably didn't give much thought to marketing the finished product. Most writers are only absorbed with wanting to create a well-told story.

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