Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Taking the Leap: Publishing My First Book



A short time ago, I launched the Facebook page for "My Life at the Bottom of the Food Chain," a novel I've been working on since early last year.  It's the story of thirteen year-old Alexander and his outrageous fears of daily life in middle school.  His fears of what might happen spiral out of control, until he feels compelled to confront a boy he perceives to be his arch-enemy.  It's a fun little novel that's had an eight year evolution that began with a few casual comic drawings and an award-winning (but unproduced) screenplay.  It's also my first novel, and so fulfills a life-long ambition.  With the help of my editor / proofreader (in the guise of my niece, who does that sort of thing for a living), I'm almost ready to send Alexander out into the world.

Aside from the not-inconsequential task of actually writing the novel, it's become relatively easy to self-publish these days. Amazon, Barnes and Noble's Nook and Apple's iBook are becoming more and more widespread, and the pathway to preparing a book for publication is relatively straightforward - even more so when using one of several low-cost services that specialize in physically preparing works for those devices.  Createspace, Amazon.com service that currently offers my documentary Bollywood Steps both as a physical DVD and on-demand video, also provides a similar service for paperback books.  Amazon manufactures books on demand as consumers order them.  My costs, depending upon the services I chose, can range from nothing to several hundred dollars. For a minor expense, my work is available to the world.

In recent years, self-publishing is less seen as so-called "vanity publishing" as a legitimate pathway to a potential audience.  It still takes quality work, word of mouth, and a bit of creative marketing  - but it no longer requires the approval of  a "gatekeeper."

Don't get me wrong.  I wouldn't mind someday achieving the still valuable legitimacy of being distributed by a mainstream publisher.  At the same time, I'm not willing to shop around a manuscript for untold years when I can reach my intended audience directly.  

I don’t care how old or how young you are - life is too short not to take a leap of faith.  We’re living in the age of the entrepreneur - nothing is stopping us from at least giving it a try.

Naturally, I'm a bit anxious to see how this will all unfold - and if I can, in fact, reach the young audience I believe would most enjoy the book.  Will ten people read it?  One Hundred?  One Thousand?  Have I done my job as a writer? As a marketer?  It's a great, exciting challenge.

"Food Chain" is part of a broader effort I’ve undertaken to discover how I might better employ social media to achieve my personal and professional goals.  I'll assess how that effort is moving along in my next blog.

2 comments:

  1. Looking forward to the release. I understand completely about the value of social media in this day. I love being able to be creative, but the old way of content creation has a proven system to launch the product to the masses. They just need a better grip on social media. In the meantime we can dream if the possibilities.

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  2. Exactly - all the tools are in place - it's the skills that need to be better developed.

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