By Kathleen B. Jones
Last week's story in the New York Times about Amazon's decision to enter the arena of publishing with a number of books in several genres sent the publishing field into a state of heightened anxiety. As for me, it had the opposite effect. I've been hovering on the edge of a decision to self-publish my latest book, and every time I thought about it I began to tremble. But when I read author Laurel Saville's story in the NYT article, my anxiety abated and I felt a great weight lift from my shoulders.
Like me, Laurel was an experienced writer with a memoir she'd been shopping around to agents and publishers with little luck. As the New York Times reported, with New York publishers as the gatekeepers, she'd been "locked out of the game." Not that they thought her book was unworthy. Quite the contrary. "I got lots of praise," she was quoted as saying, "but no takers." I've had exactly the same experience with this latest book, Diving for Pearls: A Thinking Journey with Hannah Arendt, also a memoir.
I've sent the book around to loads of agents and gotten lots of praise for the concept and the writing. But no takers. What to do? I decided to write to Laurel Saville for advice.
She'd been lucky. She'd published her book with iUniverse and then spent a little money to be listed among self-published authors on Publisher's Weekly, a major source of information for authors and all those connected to the publishing industry. Then someone wrote a review of her book and it caught the attention of Amazon. The rest, as they say, is history. I didn't expect to have the same experience as she, but I wanted to hear more about her experience and see what she recommended. So I told her a little about my book and my experience. "I'm standing on the edge of the self-publishing pool," I wrote in an email, "about to plunge."
"Do it," she wrote back almost immediately. "Now there are many more avenues than when I came out with my book. There's CreateSpace and other modes that give you lots of distribution options. Just make sure you watch the whole process of production like a hawk. And hire a publicist. I found one who gave me great coverage for not a lot of money."
I thanked her for providing further support for my decision and started researching self-publishing options, along with publicists, including Laurel's own recommendation, Ann-Marie Nieves, who operates GetRed PR in New York.
So far, I'm leaning toward CreateSpace for production. And since I was heading to New York for a conference, I made an appointment with Ann-Marie Nieves of GetRed to begin to think forward toward marketing and publicizing my book.
I've mapped out a calendar for the upcoming months: finish final edits on the manuscript by January, find a cover designer--I have loads of graphic design contacts--upload my manuscript, and start the media and networking (including social media) blitz to get the word out about my new book.
Looks like I didn't have to wait for New Year's this year to be resolved!