I'm down off the fence . . . my decision has been made! Diary of a Vet's Wife, subtitled Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, will be self-published due to the heartfelt encouragement and confidence from friends and followers who are waiting for this book. And I am most grateful!
These were the main deciding factors . . .:
- I've spent nearly a year querying agents with no success. Even if I was picked up tomorrow, it could potentially be another 18 months to 2 years before the book release date.
- Most agents now ask for a Marketing Plan submitted with your Book Proposal, including the action items you plan to implement yourself. It used to be a traditional publisher would solely market an author's book.
- Agents and publishers take substantial profits, leaving the author with only a pittance for their years, and sometimes decades, of dedication in solitary confinement. (Plus now market their own book).
- Early on, I was advised not to include excerpts from the book on my blog. This, I was told, could lead to a possible rejection by a publisher. Can't they see this is a marketing tool to gain interest?
Countless books have been written on Self-Publishing and Marketing, many occupy space on my desk and the floor surrounding my feet. Way too much information to absorb, but I'm wading through it. Truthfully, once I discovered this avenue, I couldn't set it aside. I continued to query agents, while uncovering this brave new world. The more I read, the more sense it made.
But now where do I begin? What do I do first?
Success as a self-publisher is far more a function of a process than an aptitude. - Peter Bowerman
Once again, I never planned to be a writer, and everything I'm doing is from the view point of a novice. I'm as green as a Spring pea. If you're trained in this field of expertise, please forgive my simplicity. I know there are many others like me who need to experience these steps . . .
- Establish a Reader Base - The first lesson I learned in market research was the necessity to reach readers BEFORE your book is published, whether traditionally or self-published. This was the reason I started my blog. Each week I also email my post to friends and family in my Outlook address book. Then there's Facebook, Twitter, etc . . . which I still must tackle.
- Editing - A writer must scrutinize their work with the eye of a detective. Too many writers, it appears, still submit manuscripts with misspelled words and grammarical errors. It's always best to have someone trained in this area to edit your writing. Personally, my writing teacher was the first to do a light edit, a classmate did a second edit. She then recommended one final edit with a professional before submission. I hired a free-lance editor, Kay Thompson Lee, who is currently three-quarters through my manuscript smoothing any rough edges along the way.
- Your Cover - The most important part of your book! Covers sell books! Many buying decisions are made based solely on covers. Why do so many authors stop short of the finish line? Take the time and invest the money to create a cover that would have an impartial observer be totally unaware that it's a self-published effort. A cover so good that when they do find out it's self-published, they're amazed. - Peter Bowerman, The Well-Fed Self-Publisher
To be honest, I literally still have no idea what I want on this cover. But I'm open to suggestions . . . Anyone?
An Excerpt . . . from Chapter 4
. . . Grant rang the doorbell.
Moments later, Jackie flung open the screen door. "I'm so happy y'all could make it," she said, hugging us tightly.
Jackie was in her early fifties, slim and attractive, with cropped platinum blond hair that framed huge Bette Davis eyes. Dressed in a simple sundress, she looked fresh as a new day.
"Happy Birthday," I said, kissing her cheek. "I hope you like these." I handed her a small gift containing a pair of sable paintbrushes.
"Happy Birthday," Grant echoed. Taking her wrist, he clicked his heels, bowed and kissed the back of her hand, then produced a bottle of red wine from behind his back.
"Grant, you are so gallant," Jackie giggled.
We followed her down a long narrow hallway to the back of the house. Oil painting of subtle nudes and vivid flowers lined the dimly lit walls, casting the illusion of some archaic art gallery. The small three-bedroom house was old and unassuming, but the natural lighting in the den was an artist's dream.
Muffled voices drifted out into the hallway over the grumbling protests of an ancient air conditioner. Stepping into the den, Jackie introduced us to the small group already gathered, then hurried back to the kitchen for more appetizers.
I settled into a cozy blue chair opposite the doorway, setting my purse on the floor.
Grant tapped me on the shoulder, "Scotch?"
I nodded, "Please."
He strolled off to the kitchen and returned with a tall drink with lots of ice. He took a seat across the room at an old upright piano against the wall. Sitting tall, he closed his eyes, dissolving into his own rendition of Lullaby of Bird Land.
As I sipped my drink I looked around the room feeling lost and out of place. Stepping back into the world of singles was definitely a shock. So much had changed. Women were liberated, fighting for equal rights, a cause I supported but one in which I had little experience.
The doorbell rang. Jackie hurried down the hall to answer it. In the distance I heard the resounding echo of cowboy boots striking the hardwood floor. Jackie emerged in the doorway, her cheeks flushed. I peered over the rim of my glass, catching my first glimpse of the new arrival . . .
Lesson learned . . . or my two cents
Smiles, tears, of all my life! - and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death. - Elizabeth Barrett Browning