Thursday, August 2, 2012

My Self-Publishing Adventure So Far: "Slim Target" is About to be Published

Book publishing has become a bigger deal in my life over the last few weeks. My story is that I achieved an old dream of mine. I finished the first draft of a novel a  few years ago, worked on it for six months, and wondered what to do with it.

I could have sent it to a literary agent, so I went online to read agent blogs. Most agents tended to be very snarky, as if they'd been told (erroneously) to be so to gain readers. Ironically, since writers are exhorted to write with gratitude, these agents were unkind to readers or highlighted cheerful statistics. Worse, maybe that's really what they're like in real life. Most spouted daunting statistics. They usually asked for partials from one out of every three hundred manuscripts they skimmed each week, and accepted for publication only one out of those four partials. Not good odds for me. Lately, in an almost overnight change, some have turned and asked why fiction writers haven't already self-published if their books are any good.

While wondering how to publish my manuscript, whether to self-publish as I continued writing steadily on my blogs, I became a real estate agent thinking I could make more money from that than writing, and the housing market tanked. Fortunately, I've learned tons about real estate, lawyers and all the related areas such as the principles and practices of real estate, laws, construction, insurance, and so on that will help me with generally surviving in America. For that, I'm incredibly grateful.

I was able to continue to write books in my downtime from the real estate, and in time met a book cover designer, Jim Lebbad of Lebbad Design,  who took the lead in advising a development or conceptual editor to me. That editor, Joy Stocke, of Wild River Consulting and Publishing, advised me to delete one third of my manuscript, and referred me to another editor. After doubling the size of my manuscript through character expansions, the second editor, Nina Alvarez of Dream Your Book LLC, cut back half of the remainder, rewrote a lot of it, and even re-titled it "Slim Target"...a title I like.

An article in Smart Money called "Will Publishers Perish" says that literary agents can take the place of publishers (who out-source the printing anyway) and handle all the village it takes to make a book. In my case, I hope not, since a very kind and considerate book designer rather than a snarky agent helped me. Jim took care of the publishing side, or else I would have published it unedited, as many self-publishers are doing. To him, I have to be grateful, of course. Not that any of these professionals work for free, but they did priceless work for a fee.

When I went into the largest national book store this week, I asked for the book Patriots, by David Frum, published by the same Self-publisher I'm using. Of course, his book wasn't in the bookstore, sadly. Guess mine won't be there either. It's hard to read self-publishing enthusiasts like Konrath without being persuaded to self-publish.

To me, the final version now seems a respectable manuscript, and leaves nothing for anyone to sue me about, touch wood. I'm just waiting for the actual book cover now, and then it will be foisted online.

I'm going to self-publish it, after reading about every last self-publisher in the world as well as quite a few printers, and getting to know what's what with the world of publishing. Of course, mine is going to be available online as much as possible, and in paperback at Amazon.

After learning marketing principles, and how to market real estate in America where it's the most organized marketing structure in the world, by the way, I think I have an edge publishing a book. On top of that, I was an English major at university.

It's interesting to see what goes into making a polished book. I am certainly beholden to all of the professionals who did their parts, but not to any literary agent or any one specific person, and that's fine with me. Simpler. I can handle the details of business myself. It should be an adventure to publish it. And I can hardly wait for it online. To feel a copy, see how well it sells, give away some...It's thrilling...One of my oldest dreams is finally coming true.

UPDATE: It's published and available on this blog page by clicking the widget, at Amazon and wherever fine books are sold.

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