Deborah L. Jacobs outlined her path to self-publishing success on Forbes in July of last year. It’s a three-page online article that gets into the nitty-gritty, practical details of doing it all yourself. In the comment section, she replies to one reader with this insight. “While I was in the throes of it I used to tell people, ‘It’s not a learning curve—it’s a learning mountain.’”
Deborah’s book, Estate Planning Smarts, is a bestselling book about estate planning for baby boomers and their parents. The mountain that she had to climb for success is daunting. It would scare off most faint-hearted authors with rose-colored dreams in the first paragraph. She states candidly that, “For more than one year after self-publishing my book, Estate Planning Smarts, promoting it was practically my full-time job.”
If you read the article she wrote for Forbes magazine, How My Book Became A (Self-Published) Best Seller, be prepared for overwhelm. She explains how she searched for top talent for every phase of the book production and hired only the best. She went against the standard printing practices of the day and chose high-quality paper over low, using two colors versus one, and printing on a web press rather than the safe bet of print-on-demand. But all that was only to get her through the publishing gate. The major part of that year’s daily output of work was in promotion.
Her husband, a professional graphic designer and marketing consultant, took control of designing and maintaining her website as well as advising her on list buying (she sent 10,000 brochures to subscribers of Trusts & Estates magazine) and did an e-blast to 90,000 subscribers of Financial Advisor magazine. She wrote, she says, a “gazillion” free articles for various publications and websites and kept in the limelight of her carefully targeted market with one campaign strategy after another.
One year later? Success. Her book still remains in the top 100 on the Amazon bestseller list. She is number five in her target market of Law>Estate Planning>Estates and Trusts, and perhaps best of all, she was asked to be a Forbes staff writer, which gives her even greater exposure and authority.
Is your head spinning yet? Well, it is certainly not for the faint of heart, but it can be done by any author willing to commit themselves to do what it takes for success. Breaking down one’s publishing and marketing efforts into step-by-step, doable portions, can make it happen.