WINTER PARK – So much has changed in the world of publishing in the past decade that it’s virtually a new world out there for aspiring authors, said Rik Feeney.
“The problem is there’s the writing end of it, sitting in your chair and getting down the words,” Feeney said. “Then there’s the business end of writing, and you need to understand that. Five percent of the effort is writing and publishing – and 95 percent is marketing.”
Feeney knows quite a bit about this world. He’s the author of “Writing Books for Fun, Fame and Fortune,” and operates his own business, PublishingSuccessOnline.com, that he uses to teach people how to write, publish, and market their books.
That final task, he said, is the most critical.
“The bottom line is it doesn’t matter how you’re publishing it, you have to market your book today,” he said. “Of all the thousands of books published each year, how is your book going to stand out from the pack?”
In addition to his business, based in Altamonte Springs, Feeney is the leader of the Orlando Florida Writer’s Association writers group, which has been around for more than a decade, helping local residents who have always aspired to being a creative writer and also getting what they produce into print.
“This year was our 10-year anniversary,” he said. “My group is the Orlando chapter, and we meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the University Club of Winter Park at 6:30.”
While each chapter of the FWA has different goals and methods for conducting their meetings, Feeney said his aim has been to make it a presentation group. He’s been inviting professional publishers, authors and agents to meet with the chapter members, to talk about the changes happening in the industry today.
“Different groups have different goals,” he said. “My group averages between 30 and 50 people each time.”
It’s a diverse group, he added, made up of “everything from newbies to best-selling authors.” The only criteria to join, he added, is “just an intense desire to write.”
Although some writer’s organizations devote time to having members read their work out loud so others can critique it, Feeney said they’re not doing that – yet.
“I’m thinking about adding another day of the month to do a critique workshop,” he said.
PublishingSuccessOnLine.com is also a blog that helps guide people through the rapidly changing world of traditional publishing, self-publishing, eBooks and social media – a world where writers have far more options available to them than ever before, assuming they know how to use it.
A recent blog on his site was titled, “Dinosaurs Spotted at Writers Conference,” about the fading role that traditional large publishing houses play in this brave new world.
“If I was going to guess, I’d put out a prophecy that in the next two years, two of the big publishers will either get sucked up by the others – or disappear,” he said.
For example, large publishing houses often print out thousands of copies of a single book, then have to cover the expense to warehouse them for future sales.
A self-published author, by comparison, can employ print-on-demand options for their book.
“It only has to be printed when it’s bought,” Feeney said.
In that case, there are no spare copies of the book to warehouse, so high expenses. Someone simply orders the book from an online retailer like Amazon.com or BarnesandNoble.com, and a copy of the book is quickly printed and shipped to the customer.
What’s crucial for success, he said, is that authors need to figure out how to target – and reach – an audience. With non-fiction books, he added, it’s not always that difficult.
“If I’m going to write about eating spaghetti with a spoon, I’m going to go find people who do that,” he said. “Fiction is tougher. Even with the title, sometimes you can’t get a sense of what it’s about.”
But the truth of the matter, Feeney added, is there’s a market, and audience, for just about any subject matter or genre these days – if the author can learn how to build a following through creative marketing techniques.
“You can write a book on anything,” he said.
For example, Feeney self-published his book “Halloween Safety Tips,” which is a how-to guide for safe trick or treating.
“I had this on my computer, and I thought, ‘Why is it sitting there on my computer,’ “ Fenney said — so he published it. Online sales have increased on a monthly basis.
People who are serious about getting their writing in print should consider attending a meeting of the Orlando chapter of the FWA, which hold its next event tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m.
“It gets all us hermits out of our caves,” he said. “Second, it’s information and education. You get a lot of new info. And third, networking is always critical.”
To learn more, call Feeney at 407-529-8539, or email him at Rik@publishingsuccessonline.com.
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