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Booklocker.com, Inc. is the parent company of the Booklocker.com and WritersWeekly.com web sites. Booklocker.com is our online bookstore and WritersWeekly.com is our resource center for helping writers make money online through self-publishing."We have developed low-cost, author-friendly products, services and programs that help authors publish their own works. Our offerings work best with entrepreneurial authors - authors who actively market their books and want to be involved in the entire process. Our goal is to provide the tools and the knowledge to help them successfully sell their books."
Independent Success! Breakthroughs in Publishing
The Anatomy Of A Failure And A Success In Five Minutes Or LessEveryone has heard them, the urban legends of the publishing industry. One editor giving manuscript evaluations at a seminar was desperate for a minute to herself and snuck off to the bathroom. No sooner did she have a seat, than a manuscript was pushed under the door by an overzealous author. And we all shudder when we hear about how another author giving a seminar got stuck in an elevator with a writer who demanded that the author give them their money's worth by answering their questions one on one, right now. Of course, there is that funny little tale about an author who finally landed a lunch meeting with an editor and didn't realize until she was on her way home that the face powder she had grabbed that morning hadn't been face powder at all, but pink glitter body powder and her face had resembled a giant disco ball while she had met nearly everyone in the entire publishing house (that one was me!).
You can't help but admire, and squirm, at the antics of zealous authors who just know that their book is The Next Big Thing. More than one writer has read the last page and snapped closed the cover of a successful author's work and mutter "If I just had five minutes with them, they would show me the way." Well, consider your wish granted...
Just Give Me Five Minutes Of Your Time, PLEEAAASSEEE!
I spoke with a three independent, self, and e-published authors and tried to ask them what I think every writer wants to know--the dirt. I implored them to reach into their publishing closets and rattle their skeletons "loud and proud." Bang the drums, blare the trumpet and give us the inside scoop on their success. And, most juicy of all, tell us what they wish they knew then, and what they know now--by learning the hard way. Here is five minutes with publishing success, and, maybe even more educational--with publishing failure. Because the truth is, if we do not lay bare our failures and successes and reach back to those behind....we will be standing alone.
Peter Bowerman has been in the game since 1993, during which time he has published over 200 columns and articles, led seminars on writing, and built a clientele featuring BellSouth, MCI, American Express, UPS, Cingular Wireless, Mercedes-Benz and the Discovery Channel. In 2000, he added to his success by writing and self-publishing The Well-Fed Writer: Financial Self-Sufficiency as a Freelance Writer in Six Months of Less available at www.wellfedwriter.com.
Peter Gregory was introduced to the publishing world eight years ago when he was asked to do a tech review of a friend's Informix book. He went on to do tech reviews for Prentice Hall, and when he couldn't find any books on Solaris security, he decided to write one. Solaris Security went to press in August 1999 and became a best seller, and his follow up, Sun Certified System Administrator for Solaris was released late in 2001. Currently, he has developed a new book series concept, for which he is editor, and expects the first titles to come out in late 2002. You can find out more about Peter's books at www.hartgregorygroup.com.
Shirley Kawa-Jump has been a working writer since the tender age of eleven, and landed a freelance reporter job for a weekly newspaper one year later. With over 22 years of experience, she is a teacher and seminar speaker, has published over 2500 articles, contributed to Women on Writing: From Inspiration to Publication and Crumbs in the Keyboard: Women Juggling Life and Writing, owns and operates Kawa Communications, writes the inspirational and informational JumpStart Newsletter for writers and has recently launched www.writingcorner.com, a comprehensive writer's resource. She has published How To Publish Your Articles: A Complete Guide To Making The Right Publication Say Yes and Rex Trailer: The Boomtown Years. After writing and submitting ten manuscripts, Shirley's first novel, Love Disguised (WT), will be published in 2003 by Silhouette Romance. Find out more about Shirley at www.shirleykawa-jump.com.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1....Go!
What has been your biggest success to date and how did you achieve it?
Bowerman: The Well-Fed Writer is a triple-book-club selection, an Honorable Mention in the Writer's Digest magazine National Self-Published Book Awards, and was a finalist in the Publisher's Marketing Association's Ben Franklin Awards. I have sold nearly 15,000 copies at this point, in addition to having the book become the #1 best-selling e-book on www.booklocker.com and as high as #3 overall amongst all e-books.
How did I do it? By building the demand from a grass-roots level and didn't try to rush my books into the big bookstore chains before there was a solid, enduring demand. My return rate from the bookstores back to the wholesaler and then to me (which typically run 25-30% and as high as 50% or more in some sad cases) have been running about 2-3%, amazing even to me.
Gregory: Getting the contract signed for my book series was a huge win for me. This meant that I will not only write more books, but now I'll also be developing the long-term strategy for the series and shopping for authors. Now, prospective authors send book proposals to ME!
Kawa-Jump: My biggest success in non-fiction has been the sale of How To Publish Your Articles. It was a great deal, with a great house and a publisher who knew what he was doing. To be part of a Writer's Guide Series was really thrilling and still amazing to me today.
What has been your biggest failure and what led to it?
Bowerman: In retrospect, I would have put more time between my Bound Book Date and my Official Publication Date. You should put at least 4-5 months between the two dates, which gives you time to get the book in to the hands of those media and reviewers who demand to see new titles before they're "officially" released.
Gregory: I wrote an e-learning course on Solaris Security that was going to be published by a well known Internet portal. But the dot-com downturn in 2000-2001 dried out the venture capital funding that the portal company had and they shelved the project. I lived and moved on.
Kawa-Jump: My biggest failure...I guess I failed myself. I gave up writing, threw it all away in June of last year, despite all the success that I had had to that point. It's very hard to continue and persevere in the face of rejection letters and agents who don't believe in you. I was lucky enough to find a new agent a few weeks later and to finally sell a fiction novel in December.
If you knew then what you know now......what would you change?
Bowerman: I would just have more belief in my book and myself.
Gregory: I would have done a better job writing Solaris Security. I'm almost embarrassed by some of the content in that book. The second edition will be much better!
Kawa-Jump: My first book, Rex Trailer: The Boomtown Years, was with an independent publisher. I expected great things from them and didn't know enough then to ask about marketing budgets and to plan ahead for all of that. If I had known more about marketing and PR in those days, I am positive I could have sold more books. I relied on my publisher to boost sales and they, unfortunately did not. In fact, the company was sold a few months later and my book was pretty much forgotten when the new publisher took over. I still wish I had done more.
Look to the future and tell me what are your plans for the future and the best advice you would pass on? Bowerman: I'm toying with the idea of a follow-up book to The Well-Fed Writer. Write a good book that people will want to read, spend time and money on coming up with a killer cover and title and use the Internet to reach more of your audiences cheaply and effectively. Self-published books CAN get reviewed by the big reviewers, CAN get picked up by the big time book clubs, CAN get stocked in the big bookstore chains, CAN get picked up by Amazon and prosper, CAN win awards and CAN get a huge amount of respect in the industry.
Gregory: I will be writing several more books and will be developing concepts for more books and book series. I'm having a blast!"
Kawa-Jump: Study the industry and what other people are doing, particularly those you admire. Know what questions to ask, don't be afraid to ask them, and you shouldn't settle for a company that has no intentions of treating your book with value. There are many, very good small publishers who handle every book with the utmost care and who truly partner with their authors. Look for one of them because your book deserves the best possible home.
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Carrie T. Rivera is a full-time freelance writer, author and the president of Alight Communications. Currently working on her first love, a young adult thriller and an adult suspense novel, she provides communications services of all kinds to publications, websites, corporate clients and government agencies. Pull up a mouse and visit her website at www.alightcommunications.com.