If you don’t know, for the past five years I’ve been working on a memoir. Not mine. Monica Sarli’s. For the last year and a half as she and I twiddled our thumbs, that book made the rounds of publishers in New York, hoping to find a home. Rejection after rejection came in, none of them commenting on the quality of the writing, although there were some that rejected it because I was the writer, that it wasn’t Monica’s words. (Trust me, they’re Monica’s words. I save “fuck” for really angry moments. I’m just the plot charter and grammarian.) Most of the rejections were because Monica’s not famous.
Yet. Take a look at the proposed cover art. That’s a woman who ought to be famous.
That’s when I informed Monica we were going to publish it ourselves as an e-book. This isn’t a decision I would have made a year ago, but a year ago I still believed in the idea of a New York publisher. I’m not so sure my belief is well founded anymore.
Kindle and Amazon have changed everything, something I’m late coming to realize.
After years of promising to bring out my novels for the Kindle I finally got around to doing it—on my own. (Click here for links to the books I’ve got available on Kindle right now.) You know, I just wasn’t willing to share that 70% royalty Kindle was offering, so doing it myself was the way I was determined to go. I was astounded at how easy it really was…okay, for me. I spent a few years working at web design, so coding the books myself into html/xhtml format was pretty simple although plenty tedious. Much to my amazement my Kindle books started selling immediately. A hundred dollars a month royalty isn’t much but it’s a heck of a lot more than those books were earning for me over the last few years. And each month that number climbs.
At the same time I also used the “Back In Print” program through Authors’ Guild to bring the first five books out in print through iUniverse. I will not be repeating that experience with the other books and not only because the books they create are freaking expensive. Not only did iUniverse get the covers wrong on two of the books, they actually blamed me for not getting them the covers and/or changes when it wasn’t me who fell down on the job. And, I was just looking at one of the books they got right only to discover they forgot to put the proper image release on the copyright page. Their work is sloppy and slow, but I was overwhelmed with my real life, things like our move from Scottsdale up here to the farm, so I let it go. I’m sure as heck not spending any money with iUniverse for promotion, not if this is the way they handle their projects.
If my already positive experience with eBooks wasn’t enough to convince me, the other day I was speaking with a friend who just happens to be the sort of author that consistently hits the Times. She had heard from someone high up that the publishing world as I’ve known it is doomed with maybe six more years before they’re going to have to either change or die, and those big guys don’t much like changing.
That was it. Monica and I sat down, looked at our project, divided the book up into smaller parts and created her new memoir series: The Men Wars. The first book, which we intend—I’m writing as fast as I can—to have out August 15th, is entitled Men-ipulation.
We’re not going into this on a hope and a prayer, plugging it into Kindle and waiting. We’re going to use the marketing and PR plan we had to develop for our non-fiction proposal.
Did you know that all non-fiction books require what is for all intents and purposes a business plan in order to be submitted to New York? I didn’t before I started this project, but I sure do now. I’ve written it and written it and written it.
So, instead of doing our PR in tandem with a publishing house’s marketing plan we’re going to be suiting ourselves. A new website is being planned. Social media contests are in the works. The big prizes? Why, e-book readers, what else?
If this one fails, it fails because she doesn’t have the story or I don’t have the talent to make this fly.
I don’t believe that and neither does she.
Now you know why I haven’t been posting on the blog lately. I’m consumed with both finishing the first book–one more chapter left!, and marketing and promotion. So for the next couple of months, I’ll be writing about our experiences in self-publishing along with updates on farm like…like Ed’s $1000 chicken coop which STILL isn’t finished.
Wish me luck!