Thursday, March 18, 2010

Is It Really Worth It?

So today I've been asking myself - was it worth my time publishing my book through Lulu? When I first started my book through them, I couldn't believe how ridiculously easy it was to publish a book on my own. After all, they give you a free ISBN for starters - and then once your book is published, that's it! You're a published author! Yay!

But then the curtain draws down, and you, being the new "published author" of a real book, you ask yourself: This means that pretty much anyone can be a published author. The truth couldn't be at all a lie. Anyone nowadays can be a PA. And that's been on my mind as of late. There are writers out there who've been published - and you can clearly tell they haven't even bothered to proof their own work let alone know how to write.

Before discovering Lulu, I went down the path of seeking an agent, only to find that time and time again I'd get rejected. Once I found Lulu, however, it clearly gave me a green flag to publish my work, so I was overjoyed, excited. I went through the illusions of grandeur that my book would become a best-seller while at the same time patted myself on the back, realizing I had taken some sort of a cheap short-cut into the publishing world.

There's advantages and disadvantages to going through Lulu, but the biggest disadvantage to me so far is my inability to do book signings in book stores. I am finding that as a serious slam against my wishes, because I've always felt that book signings will help get your name marketed for the least, and introduce your book in person to potential buyers who wander into bookstores.

So I've contacted another agent to see what happens. I am now thinking about releasing my book from the hands of Lulu and getting it into the hands of a publisher. I really want to do these book signings.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

My First Book - One Huge Process

Ed's note: Realizing my previous posts were displaying the many different cover ideas I came up with, I thought I'd delete all of those posts and start all over again!

Well, it's finally finished, and thanks to global distribution of my title and ISBN, it's now available through most online book outlets (B&N, Amazon, Borders, etc). It's been a while since I've had time to relax and reflect on all of my hard work in making sure this project was seen through to the end. The phases of writing a book are very complex and time consuming:

1. Gathering the story and making sure it's in chronological order;
2. Writing the book and then creating a front and rear cover;
3. Editing, editing, editing - at least until I was remarkably blue in the face;
4. Getting it published (this was a lengthy process; I tried conventional means and ended up taking the LULU publishing route);
5. Marketing the book, even though I've never sold anything before except band candy;
6. Trying to do book signings;
7. Trying to find a screen writer because I feel my book has movie potential (don't laugh; someone has to think positive);
8. Sacrificing some of your own money and buying at a minimum, 25 copies of your own book. It makes for a great Christmas gift to family members who agree to help you out with advertising;
9. Pushing my newly published book onto my Facebook friends and family;
10. Believing in my own work!

When I started this project, I thought initially that writing the book was the toughest part. I was wrong. Writing the book was actually the easiest part.

The toughest part of creating a book is doing the editing after you've done all of the writing. After countless changes you begin to realize that you'll never get it 100% correct and that mistakes are inevitable. My first big mistake was running in default mode (page size) on Microsoft word. If I had ran it 6x9 earlier on with a gutter I wouldn't have had so much reformatting to do. Second, I realized that my book is much more detailed than I'd like the next two books to be. I've already got the new format down; this means that the transition between format time will be drastically reduced. I'm working on the sequel, which tells the story of my continuing naval career between the years of 1980-2000. this one will probably cover 1984-1990.

But the project marches on. I'm now trying to see what needs to be done to get an interview on the radio about my book and to discuss some of the stories in it (preferably I'd like to be guested on WMRA, our local public radio (NPR) station. I'd like to make a one-time contribution to their station, that is, if they'll help me out through an interview. I am also seeking other ways to market my book. If any of you have ideas, or have written a book yourself - feel free to help guide me in the proper direction!

And, just this past week, my business cards - accompanied with magnetized cards, pens, a T-shirt and some snazzy looking book markers I made up and even laminated myself, I am now ready for what I hope might be a possible book signing through the Harrisonburg Barnes & Noble. Only thing in the way of that is if the book is returnable, they'll host the book signing for me. If the book isn't returnable, I am out of luck - it's as simple as that!

If you'd like to see more of what my book is about, you'd be best visiting where it's sold here.

Latest news: My book is now available on Kindle!

Last but not least, I am open to any questions one might have about my book. Keep visiting my blog or become a follower - I'll be posting some excerpts from my book as well as notices on the book's progress. Thanks for stopping by!