When I decided to self publish my first novel in the spring of 2009, people gave me one of two responses. It was either a pity filled, "Oh, I see," or a concerned, "Have you completely lost your mind?" The first response was usually accompanied with a down the nose look, implying my work wasn't good enough to considered by a "traditional" publisher. Actually, I made hundreds of inquiries to both traditional publishers and pay to publish firms before deciding to self publish.
Positives - Having owned a weekly newspaper and local origination cable TV channel in the 1990's, I came to self publishing knowing a thing or three about marketing and building a brand. Using free databases available from state press associations and other sources, I created an extensive email list of media contacts. Next, I wrote a press release, timing its arrival to media outlets during the traditionally slow news cycle following July 4th. The subject of the press release carried a strong human interest story line, "Author out to beat the odds."
Within days, dozens of print and on line outlets in Oklahoma published the story, most running it without editorial changes. The success of this campaign, which only cost an investment of my time, resulted in immediate Google presence for the novel, my name and web site. Since the initial campaign, I continue to reinforce brand strength with stunning book covers, marketing materials and the most unforgettable business card you'll ever see, created through a collaboration with Pamela Fox, a brilliant, Tulsa based graphic artist.
Negatives - The agenda for publishing my first novel was very personal. My wife and high school sweetie of more than thirty-six years, died the previous November. I'm honest when I say, writing the book truly saved my life. The error in my agenda was not properly editing the novel before publication. Although the story was good, I made every classic, rookie novelist mistake. Luckily, I began participating in a local writers group, receiving sound advice and much needed critiques. Recognizing my mistakes (and swallowing my pride), the novel was re-edited, eliminating 5,000 words, making it a much better read.
The Continuing Adventure of Self Publishing - What I accomplished in sales, marketing and brand recognition can be easily duplicated on a shoe string budget. My web site offers an opportunity to learn the ups and downs, successes and failures of self publishing for less than the cost of lunch at my favorite Tulsa burger joint. Actually, the only cost is the amount of time you are willing to invest.
Write your book, join a writers group and learn from the critiques. Then, edit, edit, edit and edit some more. Make the best decision for you on getting your work into the market. If you choose traditional publishing, go for it with all guns blazing. If you choose self publishing, call on me any time. Lunch at my favorite burger joint is always dutch treat. Check out my web site at www.indianrockvampire.com