Self Publishing your Novel (from my pov)

When you are a self published author there are a few things you need to know.  First question from most people is ‘we love your book but why don’t you sell it to a big publishing house?’.  Well, I’ve been told (and I believe it) that there are thousands of people writing manuscripts for various reasons.  They want to prove they can, they have a need to try to help people and the old ‘I need to make some money and it seems easy’.

I wrote mine for the ‘I’d like to make a little extra retirement money’ reason, but I also noticed a void in the market.  There are lots of stories about men going off to wars, coming home with issues and rebuilding their lives from various complications.  But there are none about women.  Women are seeing more and more battle action in our various services.  Most often in the Marines and the Army. So I decided I’d write one for us.

I was in the Air Force.  My job as an NCO was to insure our mission got done.  I was in Transportation, the Chief Dispatcher.  So I ran the shuttles, the taxies, and the supply trucks.  My drivers went out and picked up broke-down, abandoned vehicles and basically kept the wheels turning. But even I, though not in actual combat during Desert Storm, suffered repercussions.  Due to exposure to oil well smoke and who knows what else from the battle vehicles I developed Gulf War Syndrome which is a catch-all phrase.  For me it is asthma, sinusitis, COPD, sleep apnea and various and sundry other problems.  But enough about that.

My Book, The Homestead, is about a woman Marine combat veteran who was wounded and lost her fiance to an IED when they were en route to their assignment.  She spends time in a medical facility and winds up inheriting the old family farm, discovering a 50-year-old cold case murder mystery.

I sent it to several big name publishing companies and received a series of very polite rejections.  I seems that they were wanting something of a more supernatural bend like Vampires or Zombies in south Texas.  Or a torrid sex scene.  Or, while we liked the book we are not presently publishing this genre.  Really?

So, I went in search of a Self-Publishing house that I could get along with.  This is what I found out.

First you must find a publishing house to suit your needs: financially, responsibility, and work wise.  I didn’t have $4,000. in my hip pocket, so that knocked a lot of them out.  I had also heard stories of people who paid up front and got forgotten as time went on.  I actually found one who takes monthly payments. And I kept 100 % of all rights to my book. I have a fantasy of that movie contract.  LOL!

Second, you must find one where you have a real live contact person who will pick up the phone, give you good answers, make suggestions, and (at least seem) to care about you and your book.

Thirdly, find one who will do the basic sales deal.  They will post your book on various venues.  Amazon.com,  Createspace, BarnesandNobles.com, the Apple Store, K0bo, the Google Play, etc.

And you must have one that fulfills your needs.  Mine has a cafeteria plan.  They have a long list of services and you can choose which one you wanted.  I did’t want it edited, just proof read, got a nice cover design, print on demand, and a webpage.  There were more options but that was all I wanted.  Build a relationship with your customer account manager.  Remember names of people who you WANT to deal with.

Now, actually selling the book is up to you.  Go beat the bushes, get out to venues like bookstores, expos, conventions and things that are a part of your books.  Mine has dogs in it so I advertise in Jack Russell Dog Show Flyers when I can find them.  I also have horses so I went to the open house of my horse’s breed, American Indian Horse and I advertise in their magazine. Go on your FaceBook Page.  And to the Group pages you belong to, (Ask Permission First, some have rules about this.)  I know people through a Writers Guild, my husband’s bass club, and whenever I talk about the book, I hand out flyers with info on how to order it. Talk!  You’re proud of your book, show it.  Most of my doctors have flyers from me too.   And donate to your local library, VFW, fund-raisers for your groups and anything else you are involved with. Oh! And Blog.  Here we are, talking about the adventures and knowledge I’ve enjoyed since writing the book.  So people say Twitter, but that’s too ‘right now’ for me.  I like to write my blog and then re-read it before I post.  It’s too easy to blurt stuff out I’ll regret later.

I’m sure you’ll think of lots else to do with your book, you just have to think about it.  Good luck to you all.

By the way, the Publishing House I’m talking about is BookFuel.  Google it and talk to the nice people there.  Good luck.

 


My Ghost Story

One of my fellow bloggers challenged for a scary story, ghost story or something.  This is one that is true, but not scary so I’m not sure it suits.  But, none the less, here she be.

When I was a little girl, I lived with my grandparents out. My Grandfather grew up in Louisiana and later in life he and my Grandmother had moved to the outskirts of a small town in Texas. Cibolo creek ran through the town and wended its way past their rural home.

One evening, my Grandma had gone into the town for some reason. Grandpa, stuck at home with me, a 6 year old child, didn’t really know how to entertain me. So, for some reason, he decided that we should go frog gigging and cook the bullfrogs that ‘we’ caught over the grill pit.

At almost dark, he took his 10 ft aluminum boat down to the creek and put it in the water. My job was to hold the large flash light and point it in the water. The light would reflect off the frog’s eyes and he would hit them with his home made trident spear. We were out for about an hour and wanted a few more for the grill when it began to get really dark in the overgrown creek

I was flashing the light around the shore like I’d been told, when another light attracted me with its luminosity. I, of course, looked away from my chore and saw a man standing on the bank. He appeared to be glowing dimly against the trees and brush.

The man looked a little older than my uncle who was then 21. He was very pale, with dark hair and large black holes for eyes. He was wearing a raggedy gray ‘suit’ and he had a bloody rag tied around his head. He looked at us out in the boat and raised a hand like he was waving.

I turned around to tell Grandpa to look at the man on the bank. He did turn around but the man was gone. I tried to describe the clothing, but Grandpa never said anything to me about it. He just said we had to go home before Grandma got there. So we paddled and poled home and were cooking frogs over the fire when she got there.

Needless to say she was mad at him for taking me out like that. Later I tried to tell her about the man but she never did believe me. One day at my Great grandma’s house, I told her about him. She got real quiet then told me he was probably a poor soldier from a war who was trying to get home when he died at the creek. I’ve thought about it through the years, and she was a woman who was noted for having ‘the sight’ and she was probably right. Our home was right outside San Antonio, and lots of men had come through the area going to and coming from battles. As I remember the clothing/uniform, he might have been one of Hood’s Texas boys coming back from the War for Southern Independence. He might have been asking for help, or even saying goodbye.

I have seen a few other things, so I may have a touch of the gift, but nothing has ever affected me like that. I wasn’t scared, just terribly sad for him to have died so far away from his home. I don’t remember what day it was, but it was in fall as I was in school at the time, so it may have been in October but not Halloween.