Helping authors realize their self-publishing dreams

Kelowna woman creates website marketing tool to help authors market and sell their own books

Jill Veitch.

Jill Veitch.

Jill Veitch wants to trigger the next rebellion in the book publishing industry.

The Kelowna resident is ready to help self-published authors overcome two major business barriers—lack of print distribution and access to bookstore shelf space, and lack of general media coverage for independent titles.

Veitch has devised Direct From The Author, a website that enables authors to promote their books online through her website marketing efforts and to sell copies directly to book buying customers.

“All Canadian authors will be able to use my system to promote and sell books direct to customers and to commercial book buyers worldwide,” Veitch explained.

“It is a team-marketing environment, a marketing home base for authors at no charge to them until they generate sales revenue, and which time the service retains 20 per cent and the authors keeps 80 per cent.”

Veitch said the website, directfromtheauthor.com, is now online with a limited selection of 25 book titles largely from Okanagan authors, as her site designers are still working out the kinks for some of her customer service ideas.

“I think this is a win, win, win idea for everyone, from book buyers to self-published authors. It shakes things up a little bit and puts more power back in the control of the authors, where it should be because they are the ones doing the work.”

Veitch said the self-publishing industry of book writers has continued to expand in recent years through modern technology and an apparent peak followed by a decline in e-commerce book sales coupled with a resurgence in book-form storytelling.

She said in Kelowna area, the number of registered self-publishers has grown from 200 three years ago to 494 according to the Library of Canada directory.

Those statistics reach up to 20,000 across Canada and over 450,000 in the U.S.

But for the satisfaction of written accomplishment for self-published authors, many hit a roadblock of frustration and sometimes financial setbacks on the business side of marketing and selling their literary creations.

“For anyone who has written their own book, they know the business side can be a roller coaster of emotions. So my goal is to give them the tools to help sell their books themselves, and not fall prey to the publishing vultures looking to lure self-published authors with costly marketing packages,” she said.

She cited one marketing example an author told her of a publishing firm offering a video package produced for their book to be shown to Hollywood producers, for a cost of $12,000.

“The author came and asked me about it, and I said, ‘Run.’ That to me was just a slimy marketing ploy trying to take advantage of people.”

Veitch said books available at her website have already drawn buyer feedback, including from the Vancouver Public Library while a library service based out of Edmonton purchased five copies of Salt Spring Island in the ’60s, a book written by Kelowna author John Grain about growing up on the Gulf Island during the socially turbulent 1960s.

She sees that initial positive reaction as an indicator that she’s on to something.

Veitch’s introduction to the book publishing world originally came through working in  the Kelowna radio market in marketing and promotions, with a background in graphic design.

She was approached through personal connections by an author who asked if she could help get their book self-published.

“I started reading it and started editing it right away. I found I was one of those people with visual ability to be a good proofreader. My background in radio helped me to develop a clear marketing message that can be stated in 30 seconds, where I think my editing skills developed from as well. Plus I really enjoyed helping someone to reach their goal,” she said.

From that first project, word of mouth carried forward as other authors began to approach Veitch for help. “I wasn’t something I was looking to do, I just kind of fell into it.”

With each new experience helping authors to self-publish their books, she began to realize self-distribution was the next chapter in what she calls the self-publishing revolution.

She said Amazon is one option for book authors but the process of getting registered to sell books on their system can be complicated and hard for many to navigate.

“My experience working with local authors has been most of them are in the 65-plus bracket so the business side of self-publishing can be very frustrating, and you end up with a garage full of books that don’t get sold,” Veitch said.

“Going forward, I want to stop my time spent on editing and publishing projects, and to devote my time to help (authors) sell their books.”

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