Going it alone…How loud can YOU scream?

I put nearly three years of hard work into researching and writing my book. Once I had completed the draft, and had several trusted people review the manuscript I sent queries off to agents and publishers. I received a dozen or two rejections from agents and publishers. These rejections ranged from tiny slips of paper with a curt brush off printed on them to handwritten notes of encouragement. The latter kept me going for a while longer. Then I decided I was tired of waiting. I don’t have the patience of Robert Pirsig (Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values) who, according to Wikipedia, received 121 rejections from publishers before his philosophical book made it into print. I reached a point where I decided I’d publish the book myself. After all how hard can that be especially in this digital age? More people are reportedly using Kindle. They say one-third of readers now use digital format. It is also reported publishers and book sellers are experiencing a downturn in sales; although people like Oprah and John Stewart appear to be doing their best to throw life preserves at the sinking publishing industry.

How hard can self-publishing be? Check it out. There are plenty of on-demand publishers on the Internet.

First, let me clarify a misnomer. On-demand companies in the business of “publishing” books are aren’t REALLY interested in whether your book sells or not, although logically they should be. These companies are, therefore, on-demand PRINTERS. They print your book. You are responsible for PROMOTING your book like any reputable publisher would do.

Here’s today’s example. Here’s the latest frustration that made me decide to go public with my self-publishing experience… I got a call from a bookstore in the state of Washington. John tells me he has a client who’d like to buy my book! Hallelujah. The word is getting out and someone wants to BUY MY book!!!

Q. Why is the bookstore calling me? Did they want to make my day? What do you think?

A. Because John has been unable to find my book through their distributors. They have NO way to buy it!

I say to John my book is  available through two nationwide distributors: Baker & Taylor and Ingram Book Company (this is a story for another day). John says he has checked both distributors, neither has a listing for my book! I ask John if I can call him right back. I want to see what I can do to help him. I won’t tell you how many phone calls I had to make to get a live person on the phone at the on-demand book “publisher.”  Jenny is not very helpful. I won’t bore you with the details. Let’s just say, she explains why there are new, previously unmentioned roadblocks. Jenny tells me that John has two options: wait for 6-8 weeks until it shows up in Ingram’s catalog or open an account with the on demand “publisher”.

Clearly, this is a lot of work for John the bookseller. He’d prefer his client not go to Amazon.com and buy the book online. Clearly, I want to make it as easy as possible for John the bookseller to sell my book. My head is about to explode as I wonder how many other booksellers across the country can’t locate my book. I’ve been many hours every day since my book was released on Amazon.com on Jan. 11 promoting my book. If booksellers can’t find and sell my book then I could find better things to do with my time!?!

…more… Leave me comments about your experiences or questions. It’s time for me to tell the whole story.

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Click video preview to see the YouTube video of my book.

Read more at Amazon.com.

My other blog is Living in the Heartland.

Click video preview to see the YouTube video of my book.

Read more at Amazon.com.

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6 Comments

Filed under book, on publishing, on writing

6 responses to “Going it alone…How loud can YOU scream?

  1. God, what a headache. Just goes to show that the digital world and the print world haven’t made all those connections that they need to yet.

    • Pam

      The print industry has been around for several hundred years. Analog printers know about commitment. When they print books they have an inventory that needs to be sold. The digital world isn’t geared to commitment. There’s been a running discussion about how dangerous it is for our society to have its records kept only in digital format. Literature could easily be lost forever in a viral attack, and censorship is so much easier with a stroke of the computer. In previous posts I exhorted people to write what they love because financial rewards aren’t there. I can think of no excuse, however, for the frustration.

  2. Hi Pamela, glad to see you started to share your publishing experience, but by God, I would have preferred to read something more cheerful. So what now? What will you do?

    • Pam

      Believe me I’d love to be more cheerful. Writing, however, is a journey. We write to share, and I’ve certainly collected lots to share about the publishing experience. I think your question what will I do is a good prompt for my next post. That’s exactly what I’m going to do as soon as I finish my reply to you.

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