In a previous ECR post, we discussed the need for more DIY publishers in our DIY Declaration of War. After much internal discussion, a consensus was reached. We have tasked our sales/education team with delivering an info-cational article. (In order to arm our troops so that we don’t all eat our boots at Valley Forge come winter.) ECR lists the five needs of every independent publisher, no matter if they only publish Harry Potter fan fiction, or if they publish outsider art, the kind where a guy who only wrote poems on napkins before hiding them inside reupholstered furniture.
THE DIY Publisher’s Cookbook
- Audience Identification
To begin with, every indie journal, zine, novel, etc; must identify their potential audience. If you don’t take this necessary step then you’ll end up only doing things for yourself, then why DIY anything at all. There are a number of vanity presses that are alive and well and living off the blood of the stupid and ignorant. Be sure that if you do go down this route to publishing, that you wear garlic and keep a crucifix handy. You never know exactly how these vampires will react once you’ve taken your contract into the sunlight. But remember that your loved ones will likely be the only ones to read it. And most likely only the front and back cover. If that’s your target audience, giddy-up Sunshine and keep licking that window!
For example, ECR seeks thrill seekers as our core audience. We know, we know…that’s a broad swath of the population, but it’s better than just saying we want to be read and listened to by everyone from indie authors to indie editors. Our audience includes nurses, lawyers, teachers, writers, garbage men, cult members, Fox news lovers, Fox news haters, and anyone else seeking to escape the drudgery of their reality. Once we identified our audience, ECR was better equipped to deliver a quality product because we knew exactly what YOU MUD PEOPLE wanted. SEX, and not just any kind of sex but…oh, that’s right…you people wanted any kind of legal sex. Your passions and urges disgust me!
2. Quality Product
Realize that your audience’s eyes have value, but their time is more valuable. If your product fails to uphold a certain standard of quality, then you will lose your audience to other things, i.e: Funny cat videos, videos of clog dancing, end of list.
In order to serve a quality product, you must maintain a positive attitude one hundred and ten percent of the time.
Be sure to complete the mundane tasks of reading submissions with a smile on your face. Remember that each submission is a beautiful newborn baby, needing love, kindness, and milk to survive the harsh world outside the author’s womb. Granted some submissions will come into the world cross-eyed, showing distinct signs of the alcohol-induced syndrome. A pathetic Cronenberg of run-on sentences, misspelled verbs, and redundant dialogue attributions. Keep that smile on your face sunshine the entire time and remember you were once like them.
Picture yourself at home, alone. Saturday night, television playing Mystery Science Theatre 3000, with the sound off. Dreaming big dreams about Canada and drawing boobs. Then you pick up a book or magazine or that picture of boobs. Then remember that you want MORE out of life.
Be sure to read each word as it is written. ECR cannot tell you how often we receive submissions that leave out words, that would have otherwise caused their authors to tell a coherent story. These handicapable pieces of prose are usually melted together with ten cent adverbs and ten dollar adjectives. If faced with this situation, persevere!
3. Consistent Design
Remember that old adage, don’t judge a book by its cover? Well, it is very incorrect. You judge and you judge harshly to the point where no one likes you.
You must know who you’re competition is…you must understand their business model. You must conduct secret corporate espionage missions behind enemy lines. You must stalk the enemy. You must keep thoughts of murder inside your head at all times. You find yourself in a hall of mirrors. There you find the enemy. Do what is needed or you can no longer call yourself a man. QUIT CRYING!
Be sure to honestly interact with customers. But not too honest!
Take our buddy Phil, he just purchased his copy of EconoClash Review #ONE from amazon.com for the low price of $7.99 or from our Patreon subscription service for $2 a month. Phil is upset because Phil can’t read. Phil calls our customer service hotline to register his complaint. He gets D’Andra Johnson as his customer service rep. They fall in love. They get married and move to Seattle. D’Andra gets cancer, but through her faith and Phil’s undying love beats it with chemo. D’Andra’s hair falls out. Her leg swells. She can’t sleep anymore. She begins blogging. Phil throws himself into work and his Secretary Brianna. Brianna has three kids and three baby daddies. Brianna’s father owns a contracting business. Phil weighs his options. Phil finds his copy of EconoClash Review #One from all those years ago and still can’t read. Naughty. Naughty.
If we don’t learn from our past mistakes WE ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT THEM.
5. NETWORK FOOTPRINT
This surprisingly enough has nothing to do with the internet. To be successful in the DIY field, you must realize that no matter how much you do yourself, you can’t do everything alone. You have stood on the shoulders of giants. EconoClash Review would not exist without the support of its network of friends and associates such as Switchblade magazine, My little Corner, Ralan’s, Horror-Tree, Pulp Modern, Stinko The Bat-face Girl, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Howard the Duck Episode of How Did This Get Made and other wonderful supporters.
Remember the ECR Keys to Success in
THE DIY Publisher’s Cookbook
- Audience Identification
- Consistent Design
- Quality Product
- Network footprint