Aaron Daniel Behr asked us to help. He was toiling away at social media, but wasn’t gaining much ground—few new followers, no new book sales.
So over the month of April, we exploded Aaron’s social media with new, real followers who are interested in him and the books he’s selling.
We grew his Facebook audience from 82 individuals to 3,135 real followers. Every new follower was carefully targeted because they’re interested in the topics that Aaron is talking about.
During the same time period, his Twitter audience grew from 38 followers to a crowd of 1,385 people. That’s more than a 3,500% increase on both platforms!
Thousands of people are now open, receptive, and interacting when he shares his message of hope, and discusses important topics like mental illness, bullying, Christianity, and divorce.
Not only did we increase the size of his permanent audience, but we also shared his message and his book with more than 975,000 individuals. More than 70,000 people interacted with his content. The Husband, a Christian memoir of his divorce and battle with mental illness, is receiving more attention than ever before. Since his social media has blown up, Aaron has received offers to be featured in magazines, podcasts, and more.
Before he came to us, Aaron worked hard to produce great content, but no one was responding, the pieces just weren’t coming together. Now when Aaron talks, people are listening. His content routinely gets 100+ interactions with no additional money spent. And when reviewers, agents, and producers find Aaron online, they see an author with an active, vibrant audience and a professional, robust web presence.
This is a game changer for Aaron’s platform as an author, and it will net real book sales as he moves forward, and big opportunities over the next few years. It takes the same amount of time and effort to talk to thousands of people on Facebook as it takes to talk to 82. Working with Aaron, we’ve built a social media machine that leverages his time and energy. This is an asset that he will keep for the rest of his life.
Does your social media need a shot in the arm? Please contact us, we’d love to chat.
Todd and Trudi Martin came to us with a passion and an idea. They love their dachshunds at home, which they’ve bred for years, and they wrote a children’s book which celebrates the personality of each pup and brings them to the page.
As a first-time author, working with a first-time illustrator they’d met locally, they had a lot of questions—they were committed to publishing a great book. Our team was happy to answer questions, provide good advice, and coach them through the process to make sure that the results exceeded their expectations.
“The hardcover books just arrived, they are BEAUTIFUL! You guys did a great job!” – Trudi Martin, co-creator of Welcome to Doxieville.
The Columbus Publishing Lab team edited the manuscript, worked with the illustrations to lay out the interior of the book, proofread the book, and built a cover with the provided artwork. The resulting book is gorgeous, error-free, and an amazing representation of Todd and Trudi’s passion.
Welcome to Doxieville is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Sony/Kobo in hardcover, paperback and digital formats, as well as available to brick-and-mortar bookstores around the world.
We also built a custom WordPress website at www.DoxievilleBooks.com, and provided guidance and consultation as they set out to market their book.
If you’re thinking about self-publishing, it’s OK that you don’t know how to complete every part of the publishing process. That’s why we’re here. Our authors bring their passion to the table, and we fill in the gaps to ensure that their books are better than the books coming out of the big, traditional publishing houses.
Todd and Trudi could have taken this book to a traditional publishing house. But by working with Columbus Publishing Lab, they maintained creative control of their work, they produced a better book, and now they’re in a position to make more than 10x the royalties per book sold.
I have something shocking to tell you. There’s a lot of bad advice on the internet.
At Columbus Publishing Lab, we advise a 5-step publishing process for all books that we produce. This process is based on founder Brad Pauquette’s industry experience, and our confidence is based on the results we’ve achieved. It’s not “cheap,” but it produces a book as good or better than what’s coming out of the Big 5 publishers. And it pays off.
In an effort to save money, and based on bad advice on the internet, many of our clients are interested in only producing an e-book. But, if you’re producing an excellent, professional book, e-book only distribution isn’t going to save you that much money.
The first two steps are typically the most expensive, and that’s what improves the content of your book. Developmental editing and copy editing are the steps that make your book the best piece of literature it can be. These steps maximize positive reviews and sales. Whether you’re producing an e-book, a print book, or both, these are really important steps.
Foregoing a print book will save you a little bit of money on the interior design and the cover design, but that’s it. If you’re approaching your project as a professional, you still need professional editing and only producing an e-book will save you less than 15% of the total budget.
E-books account for approximately 40% of our total book sales. If you don’t produce a print book, you’re throwing 60% of your potential sales out the window. Are you willing to sacrifice 60% of your sales to save 15% on your production costs?
That bad “give it a try with an e-book only” advice comes from the days when big initial print runs were mandatory for print books. Not only did a self-publishing author have to spend money on the production, but they would drop thousands of dollars on an initial offset print run to store in a warehouse. If that was still the case today, then an e-book only plan would save thousands on that expense. But now, with print on demand technology, there’s no reason to print a bunch of books up front, and that expense doesn’t exist.
Photo credit: GoXanuReviews -creative commons
Using our unique distribution system, there’s no need to print any books up front if you don’t want to. All we need to produce is outstanding source files, and then those books are printed only when a customer orders the book. The print-run risk is completely mitigated for the publisher or author, and the customer receives the same prompt book delivery they expect from retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
The only way that producing only an e-book works out is if you also use it as an excuse to skip professional editing. And that’s a bad idea. There are some outliers—a few books that an author pushed out over the weekend which went on to hit major success—but these are exceptionally rare. Readers care about editing quality, and readers care about the development of the narrative—plot holes, poorly developed characters and unrealistic dialog bother readers, a lot.
When it’s time to publish, when it’s time to take your first shot and step into the marketplace as a new author, you owe it to yourself to put your best foot forward. Contact us today by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 614-805-3982 to learn how we can help you to produce an outstanding book, distributed to all major markets, in print AND e-book.
Jeffrey Miller was mowing his lawn one day when he came under attack by a scourge of hungry mosquitoes. These skeeters are eaters! he thought as he did the mosquito slap and shuffle. That first rhyming line grew into a complete poem. For years, he held onto his Skeeters story.
When Jeffrey met Brandy he recited Skeeters and she encouraged him to turn this whimsical poem into a children’s book everyone could enjoy (and of course they fell in love!). Brandy and Jeffrey got married, and started the process of growing their family through adoption.
As the Millers discovered how limiting the cost of adoption can be, publishing Skeeters became more than a personal project. With the help of local illustrator Dale Herron and Columbus Publishing Lab, Skeeters would become not only a beautiful children’s book, but the perfect vehicle to help Jeffrey and Brandy raise funds to support their own journey, and other couples seeking adoptions.
“My wife Brandy and I have chosen to grow our family through adoption. Adoption can be an expensive undertaking. Many families have room in their heart for an adopted child, but the financial cost keeps them from fulfilling that desire. A portion of the proceeds from sales of Skeeters will be dedicated to support future adoptive families in their efforts.”
Our first role in publishing the Skeeters book was to help Jeffrey and Brandy get their Kickstarter campaign off the ground and gaining traction. We produced, shot and edited their Kickstarter video, answering questions about crowdfunding promotion along the way. By the time their campaign closed, Brandy and Jeffrey exceeded their goal and raised over $8,000 for their cause!
After Brandy and Jeffrey’s campaign closed it was go-time. Kickstarter backers were expecting paperback, hardback and e-book versions of Skeeters, and Columbus Publishing Lab was ready to come through.
We worked with Dale, the Millers’ illustrator, to ensure the Skeeters files were up to spec for our printer, checking elements like bleed, spine and formatting. We also provided an ISBN and barcode for each version of the book, and created an e-book version from the provided print files.
As soon as the files were ready, we uploaded Skeeters to our printer. Jeffrey and Brandy were able to print book copies at a significant discount off the list price to fulfill their Kickstarter orders. Through our distribution services, the book is also available to all major online retailers in a seamless process that’s completely hands-off for Brandy and Jeff.
Throughout the entire publishing process Jeffrey and Brandy had a dedicated point of contact at Columbus Publishing Lab. We were there to answer questions, guide their illustrator, and provide them with the information and expertise they needed to stay in the loop about the Skeeters project.
Congratulations to Jeffrey and Brandy on the successful release of Skeeters!
We are hiring for an in-house position at our office in Zanesville, Ohio.
We have listed this position as an internship, however, applicants seeking full-time work are encouraged to apply. Pay rate is negotiable for candidates with a developed skillset and experience.
JOB TITLE: Digital Production Intern
DESCRIPTION: The Digital Production Intern will assist the production team in the creation of e-books, audiobooks and website materials.
The intern should have a keen interest in book publication, with a willingness to learn new skills. The ideal candidate works well in an unsupervised environment, and understands the value of producing professional, consistent results. As an exceptional communicator, the intern should be open to constructive criticism, and have realistic expectations for a production environment.
The ideal candidate has a basic understanding of HTML code, as well as an impeccable sense of English spelling and grammar.
Self-taught and unconventional candidates are encouraged to apply.
The intern will learn to independently complete the following tasks:
Creation of e-books (HTML)
Creation of audiobooks
Social Media Marketing
COMPENSATION & COMMITMENT: $9 per hour, beginning at 10 hours per week.
Additional hours are available for interns who quickly demonstrate proficiency. There is strong potential to lead to full-time employment for the right candidate.
A higher pay rate is available for applicants who can demonstrate a developed HTML skillset.
We would like to fill this internship ASAP.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICATION: Interested candidates should email email@example.com with their name, contact information, an introductory letter, and resume.
We have this crazy rule at Columbus Publishing Lab: we won’t try to sell people things they don’t need, or things that won’t work.
Let me jump to the point—book trailers don’t sell books. If your intent is to increase the sales of your book, trailers are a waste of time and money.
If you insist you want to throw away your money so you can be the coolest author on the block, we’ll do our best work and facilitate it. But let me be frank: your book trailer is not going to be the exception, even if it’s exceptional, and it’s not going to sell books.
We’ve experimented with book trailers. After all, everybody’s doing it. We’ve made trailers with live actors and Hollywood-caliber production, top-notch stuff like the one below. This thing is awesome, but trailers don’t sell books, and this one was no exception.
Graham's Charlotte Trailer - YouTube
Any promotional effort will have a fractional conversion rate. Which is to say, of all of the people who are exposed to your marketing, a percentage will actually buy the product. As an example, only a small percentage of drivers who see the billboard about a McDonald’s at Exit 38 are hungry, and fewer still will want a Big Mac. When it comes to marketing, a “conversion” is a person who is exposed to your marketing and takes the action you want them to take—i.e. buys a product, joins an email list, donates to an organization, watches a TV show, etc.
There’s a lot of variation based on type of promotion, but to generalize web marketing across all industries, a 1% conversion rate is good, .1% is fine (1 in 1,000 respond), and a 5% response rate is ungodly. ***NB: A like/retweet/comment/etc. on social media is great, but it should never be the objective and it’s not a “conversion.” An effective web marketing campaign should have a far higher response/interaction rate than 1%.
The goal of any book promotion (a “conversion”) is the sale of one book. This means that if 1 out of every 100 people who see your promotion buy your book, you’re doing exceptionally well.
What happens in real life is that authors end up spending their time promoting their book trailer. They promote the book trailer by graffiti-ing every social media platform with the link to YouTube. On a good day, 1% of the people who see the link actually go and watch the thing. Then of those who watch it, 1% (best case scenario) actually go and purchase the book. You’ve just fractionalized your fraction, and now you’re pulling a .01% total conversion rate on the project.
Instead of promoting a book trailer to promote a book, just promote your book directly. If our goal is to sell books, a well-crafted “Hey go watch my book trailer,” is about 1/100th as effective as a well-crafted “Hey go buy my book.”
And we haven’t even mentioned the fact that a really good book trailer will cost well over $1,000, if not far more. Your conversion rate on most of the poorly-produced videos on YouTube is virtually 0.
There are some exceptions:
The book trailer is so exceptional that a viewer just has to share it with everyone they know. This is extremely difficult. Book trailers are essentially commercials, and how many commercials do you see shared on Facebook? The average cost to produce a national-TV-quality commercial is $342,000, and even these are rarely shared.
The book trailer is a second-hit. We have a rule in our promotions—nobody does anything they’re not told to do at least twice. If your book is already saturating the general population, a book trailer can be an effective follow-up to seal the deal. As in, you were on Good Morning America this morning, and curious readers are now actively searching for materials about your book.
If Crowdfunding is part of your strategy (i.e. Kickstarter or Indiegogo), a video works. Crowdfunding audiences are predisposed to watch videos, because it’s part of the culture of the platform. The format of this type of video will be different from a “book trailer.”
Other types of videos can work. If you’re an expert or you have something to offer, and you can make videos that do more than just promote the book—for instance, solve a problem, explain a concept, or make people laugh—something which is genuinely good, entertaining and helpful, you can promote your personal brand and sell books as an ancillary benefit. This is a far different approach from a book trailer, however. In other words, not all videos are bad, just book trailers.
We believe that self-publishing works when it’s done right. The fact is, our clients think videos are cool and I wish they worked—they can be a lot of fun to make, and it would be a cool service to offer. But in good conscience, it’s not a service that we can stand behind.
At the end of the day, book trailers are more about the author’s vanity. And we don’t do vanity here. We do professional results and we do return on investment.
Take it from us, skip the book trailer and save your money. There are better ways to promote your book.
Have you ever purchased a book because you saw a book trailer? Let us know in the comments.
Every book is different. At Columbus Publishing Lab, we tailor a marketing plan specifically for your book, to meet your goals, using methods that are proven and effective. Contact us to discuss your book today.
I’m a bit of a handyman. I live in an old two-story farmhouse, and there’s always something to be fixed, updated or remodeled. Most of the work I can do myself—in fact, there are very few times that I need to call in a “professional,” (a fact I’m very proud of). I save a lot of money by doing the work myself, and truthfully I enjoy it.
My 7-year-old son and me framing in the roof tie-in.
But on the occasions that I do call someone in, I’m almost always impressed with the results. The right home repair professional knows how to make everything come together just right, it always looks so clean and perfect when they’re done.
A professional does the exact same job as I would do, and follows the same functional steps, but they bring three important things to the table:
They do this task everyday, so they’re practiced.
The have exactly the right tools for the job.
They know all of the tricks and all of the pitfalls, so it turns out just right.
My wife’s 90-year-old grandmother moved in with us this fall, so with only one bathroom upstairs we added a first floor bedroom and bathroom for her over the summer. I ended up doing most of the work myself.
I had done each of the individual tasks involved in building an addition at least one time before here or there, but I don’t do any of them frequently and I’d never done all of the pieces at once. I was out of practice.
Sometimes I would find myself reaching for the vice grips, instead of whatever specialty wrench the job required, because I didn’t want to drop $60 for a tool I was only going to use once. It worked, but the nut would end up with little scratches on it or something would be just a degree off-center. Or I’d find myself trying to make a hole-saw work that wasn’t exactly the right size, because I didn’t want to run out to the hardware store again.
And sometimes, I’d get halfway through a job and think, “I wish I would have started on the other side of the room.” I just didn’t have enough experience to recognize all of the ways to make the job perfect, or to see all of the areas which might be more difficult.
It was all little tiny things. Things you wouldn’t notice individually unless you knew what to look for. But taken as a total, there is a perceivably lesser quality to my handiwork than that of a professional.
I did hire a plumber to install the shower for me. He knew exactly what he was doing. He did it in half the time I would have because he does that kind of thing every day. He had exactly the right tools for every part of the job—$60 for a specialty wrench which will make the job quicker and better is well worth it, even if he only uses it a couple times each week. And before he even got started, he looked over our framing and recognized a few potential areas that might interfere with the shower placement. With his instruction I made a few adjustments so that everything would come together perfectly.
My work is good. But the professional plumber did it better, he did it quicker, and even though it cost far more than if I did it myself, it was worth every penny.
At Columbus Publishing Lab, we’re professional book producers. Hats off to those of you do-it-yourself book producers who can complete all of the steps, but we believe that the quality of our books speaks for the value of hiring a professional. And we know that the royalty checks our authors receive dwarf the royalties of their average DIY peers. One big reason our authors make more is the professional quality of their finished book.
Just like your plumber or electrician, there are three things that make our results better: We practice this every day; we have all of the right tools (thousands of dollars in software and hardware); and we know all of the tricks and pitfalls.
And there’s another factor that makes our results truly professional: Producing a book isn’t just one job, it’s five unique skillsets, each of which takes years of daily practice to learn and perfect. We have individuals in-house who are experienced professionals at every single step of the process—developmental editing, copy editing, interior design, proofreading and cover design. Even our methods of distribution and fulfillment took years to develop, let alone a comprehensive and effective marketing system.
I may know how to do a little plumbing, a bit of drywall and a lot of electrical. But it would be inconceivable that as a hobbyist, I’m as good at every single job required to build a house as specialized professionals would be—excavating, cement pouring, block laying, framing, roofing, drywall, plumbing, electrical, flooring, siding, window installation, to name a few.
Some authors just want to do it themselves. I get that. I enjoy working on my house. Most of the time, even if it’s not quite as good, I’d rather be proud of my own work than pay someone else.
But there is a place for hiring professionals. If you’re serious about creating a book that will compete in the marketplace with books coming out of the major publishing houses, you need a product that is built to the same quality standard. You need all five steps of the publication process to be clean and perfect.
We’re here to help. Whether you need all five steps of the publication process, or just a little bit of help, we’d love to work with you to make your book the best that it can be. You’ve worked too hard to let a few hundred dollars stand between your manuscript and success.
-Brad Pauquette, CEO
Ready to publish? Let’s talk. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maman weaves the life story of a Jewish-Iranian woman whose identity is fiercely bound to her family, her country and her faith. Married at a very young age, Maman raised seven children in the midst of poverty and the chaos of political upheaval in Iran. Moris Niknam, one of those seven children, tells his mother’s story with a nostalgic love through memories both sweet and heart-wrenching.
We worked with Boyle & Dalton, the publisher of Maman, to provide editing, design and marketing services, so the finished book would reflect the heartfelt effort Moris Niknam put into chronicling his mother’s extraordinary life.
The first step in the publishing process was a developmental edit. After reading the entire manuscript, an experienced developmental editor provided Moris with a detailed report containing recommendations to improve areas of concern. As a result, Moris was able to act on the suggestions of our editor to vastly improve Maman before the book was released to readers.
Next, a professional copy editor combed through the manuscript correcting spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes, as well as standardizing the manuscript to a style guide. Our editor worked closely with the author to ensure the Persian language used throughout the book was formatted accurately.
After the copy edit was complete, our interior designer set to work creating a custom aesthetic to be both elegant and readable. We also incorporated pictures provided by Moris to better illustrate his upbringing in Iran, seamlessly building them into the design.
As soon as the interior design was complete our proofreader checked the entire manuscript a final time, searching through the text and the design for any last-minute errors.
Our cover designer worked with Moris and his publisher to incorporate several family photographs, creating a dynamic cover design that commemorates Maman while attracting passing readers to her story.
We distributed Maman in paperback and e-book formats to all major retailers as soon as Moris was completely happy with his final files. Maman is readily available to readers, and Moris collects a quarterly check for his sales without the need to store, ship or purchase copies of his book up front.
Moris spread the word to his friends and family about the release of Maman, but wanted to expand the reach of his story. Columbus Publishing Lab provided marketing services to Moris following the release of his book to help get Maman into the hands of more readers.
Throughout the entire publishing process Moris had a dedicated point of contact for questions and updates. Calls were answered or returned, emails were read and promptly answered, and a close-knit team who actually cared about his book brought the project to fruition.
If you’re interested in making your book project a reality, we invite you to contact us by clicking here. We’re happy to sit down with you for a free consultation, or answer your questions via email/phone.
The Deceived by E. C. Fisher is a work of dark, biblical fantasy. The book opens with the death of God, and then launches readers into an epic good-versus-evil story that pits the Archangel Michael against monsters, demons and Lucifer. Set in the post-apocalyptic landscape of the Rapture, Michael and his ragtag group of followers set off on a desperate journey to save the souls of all humanity.
The Deceived tells a story E. C. Fisher felt compelled to write. He wrote the book quickly, his manuscript taking shape around his own frustrations with the real-world troubles humanity grapples with today. After receiving favorable feedback from his peers, Fisher began the process of finding a publisher who would allow him to retain creative control over his debut novel, and his relationship with Columbus Publishing Lab began.
We got right to work. Fisher worked with an outside copy editor prior to contracting Columbus Publishing Lab, and so our first step was to take his raw manuscript file and create a custom interior design for The Deceived. Our designer chose an aesthetic to reflect the dark tones of the book, while maintaining a simple, readable layout.
Writers spend a lot of time in the worlds they create for their characters. Fisher wanted The Deceived cover to represent his ideation of Lucifer, and he provided detailed notes describing what he was looking for–down to the facial structure and hairstyle of his antagonist. These instructions were then provided to one of our professional illustrators, who transformed Fisher’s words into a provocative, illustrative cover.
After the interior design was complete our proofreader combed through the manuscript again, searching for any last-minute errors, while also checking design elements like page numbers, headers and spacing. Our e-book designer then created a digital version of The Deceived that’s readable across all major e-book platforms.
While the book was in production, our web developer created an author website designed to be a tool to reach more readers, and a showcase for current and future work by E. C. Fisher. Built on a simple WordPress platform, Fisher’s website is easy to update, customize, and blog from at any time.
Given the thrilling story line and thought-provoking themes in the book, The Deceived was sure to garner some attention. But with so much self-promotion work needed to make even the most exciting new release stand out, Fisher enlisted the help of Columbus Publishing Lab to boost his marketing efforts in the critical time following his book’s release. We created printed marketing materials he could hand out at readings and conferences, helped with content creation, social media management, and acted as his publicist to help solicit reviews.
The Deceived is distributed through our Proving Press imprint to all major retailers. E. C. Fisher collects a quarterly check for his sales, without the hassle of running to the post office, storing and warehousing orders, or paying for them upfront. This leaves him time to market his debut novel, and work on his second one.
Throughout the entire publishing process Fisher had a dedicated point of contact to answer his questions and provide him with updates. He never had to wonder if his emails were being read, or if his project would be completed on time. This level of service is standard procedure at Columbus Publishing Lab.
Often when we publish books it’s because authors are trying to reach larger audiences–sharing their story with the world. But sometimes the smaller the audience the more profound the impact.
Such was the case with Call Me Bud, the memoir of 95-year-old WWII veteran Bud Embree.
Sharon Embree, Bud’s daughter-in-law, contacted us about publishing the memoir she had compiled from Bud’s writings over the years, along with photographs and documents from Bud’s time as an artillery pilot in WWII.
The completed book was to be presented to Bud as a surprise at his upcoming birthday party. With this deadline on our radar, we got to work.
Our interior designer took the materials provided by Sharon and created a custom aesthetic, separating the memoir into chapters by dates in Bud’s life. We kept the design simple and readable, while incorporating design elements that reflected Bud’s service in the air force.
After the text had been professionally laid out, we created a gallery of photos and documents at the end of the book, sharpening the images as needed to make them stand out in print.
Our cover designer took several of the photos taken during the time of Bud’s service (including a dashing photo of Bud in uniform), combining them into a custom cover design.
After Sharon was completely happy with the final files, we uploaded the book to the printer and shipped the book copies off in time for Bud’s birthday surprise, ready to be handed down to grandchildren and to generations still to come.
“I wrote this down so that my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren would learn about the Great Depression and World War II, and so they could come to understand my life a little better.”
–Bud Embree, Call Me Bud
From books designed to reach the masses, to those special projects that mean the most to just a few, Columbus Publishing Lab handles each project with care, attention to detail and personalized service that shows in the final product. If you have a book project on the shelf, large or small, we invite you to contact us.
Read Full Article
Read for later
Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
Scroll to Top
Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.