Question: With so many self-publishing options out there, why should I bother to pursue a traditional publisher for my book?
Answer: I love this question!
Here’s my short response: Traditional publishing requires less of the author, will likely result in more book sales, and carries the prestige of a publisher selecting your book for publication. The negatives include the effort to find a publisher, the length of time to publish the book, and earning much less per copy sold—if anything at all.
A commonly sighted reason to not self-publish is the requirement to market and promote our books. While it’s true that if we self-publish our books, we must market them if we expect to sell any, traditional publishers also expect you to help promote, market, and sell your books. If you can’t or won’t do that, the publisher is unlikely to decide to publish your book. In short, they want authors who can move books.
There is no one right answer. It depends on the goals and priorities of each individual author. Also, some authors do both, depending on the book. They’re hybrid authors, going with traditional publishers for some books and indie-publishing (self-publishing) for others.
If a blog has a specific focus, could you compile this information in a book and sell it? A conference speaker said you shouldn’t sell anything you’ve offered free. What’s your view?
Answer: I understand what the speaker said.
Basically, he or she thinks you won’t be able to sell something you once gave away (and may still be giving away) on your blog. An agent or publisher will also be concerned, fearful there is no one left to sell to.
However, I disagree.
Though you may have lost some sales, you will pick up a new audience with a book. In addition, some of your blog readers will buy a copy because they want all the content in one place in a convenient format, while others who read some posts won’t read the rest online, though they will read a book. Although it’s best if you can add new content to the book, which isn’t in your blog, this isn’t a requirement.
There are many cases of authors who successfully turned a series of blog posts into a book.
Question: I hear a lot about SEO (search engine optimization). Should I be concerned about keywords?
Answer: That’s a great question, one with two answers.
If you’re talking about using the keyword metatag, don’t worry about them. This is because Google says they ignore them. Therefore, I don’t waste any time thinking about metatag keywords.
However, if you think other search engines do look at metadata keywords, only give them passing consideration. Some SEO tools do allow users to enter metatag keywords, so you might feel a compulsion to enter something. If so, don’t spend a lot of time on them. Perhaps limit yourself to less than thirty seconds to list reasonable metatag keywords for SEO. But don’t expect them to do much good.
However, if you’re talking about keywords or keyword phrases to guide your writing and include in your text, this is something I encourage you to pursue if you’re interested in SEO.
SEO is part art and part science. It’s a skill that takes time to develop. There are many books, blogs, and podcasts that explain this. Not to oversimplify a complex topic, a reasonable starting point is to consider what words you would type in a search engine to find the post you’re writing. Then use that phrase for about .5 to 2.5% of the text.