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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Why Writers Self-Publish ... Three Journeys

With all the new tech programs/platforms accessing all kinds of new reading devices, publishing with professional flair has been delivered to our very own back yards ... and cheaply, at that.

Here are three brief adventures in self-publishing that answer some questions and provide a certain insight:

Authors avoid the slush pile by publishing their books themselves

By Rose Russell of The Toledo Blade, republished in the Detroit Free Press

Everybody has a story to tell, and today many people are telling them in print, thanks to the technology and self-publishing companies.

Although thousands of books are published each year, people who know their stories won't capture the interest of big publishing houses turn to self-publishing. Some have good experiences, some don't. Some spend lots of money, others spend nominal amounts.

All in all, though, little compares to finally seeing one's own name and title on the cover of a book.

Self-publishing isn't easy, however. In addition to writing their stories, authors do their own research, marketing and promotion.

Rejection from some of the major players in book publishing sent Holland resident John C. Moore out on his own. Some of the 46 rejections he received for his first book, "A Positive Attitude is a Muscle: A Managed Stress Survivor's Manual," that he published in 2001, cited excessive title length or a need for rewriting.

"Some rejections were nice, but others really hurt you to read," he said. "One said I would never be published. I sent him one of my books with a nice note. He wrote back saying, 'Sometimes I'm wrong,'" said Moore, a retired vice president from the former Toledo Trust.

His second book, "Alvetta," named for his late wife, chronicles his journey during her last two years. Though it is intensely personal, it is a gripping story.

Up-front costs were about $695. All the work of self-publishing falls on the author's shoulders, and it sometimes shows, Moore said.

"If you go through 'Alvetta' and 'Stress,' you will find some errors. There is no one to help you do clean-up work. No one helps you with the marketing," he said.

But that won't stop Moore from self-publishing again. He is conducting research for another book he expects to have out in a couple of years.

Sometimes authors tap the skill of colleagues for help, as did Cindy Hampel of Royal Oak.

Her book, "It's Not Personal -- Lessons I've Learned from Dealing with Difficult Behavior," is available in paperback and on Kindle. She asked a friend in Detroit Working Writers to read and edit the work.

Hampel, a mother of three who is taking paralegal courses, said "I did not plan to write this type of book when I left my full-time job in media relations, I felt the calling, if you will, that God must have put these experiences in my path for a reason, and I grew compelled to write about them."

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