We re-purposed Brian's childhood and teenage desk (he couldn't let me sell it in a garage sale; yes, he's quite sentimental at heart). It now collects gear associated with this season of my life. The books make up a sampling of volumes that were mostly self-published by people I know or know of. I've bought some, was given others. What about you? Is there a book in you? If so, maybe I can help you get started.
It happened again yesterday. Someone I don’t know called and wanted to talk about how to go about publishing a book. A second person private-messaged that she would like to take me to lunch to talk about how to get started writing. Recently a gentleman stopped by and asked what I would charge to edit his memoirs, and a lady emailed to ask if I would mentor her poet friend.
People have asked me these kinds of things since Sweetland of Liberty Bed & Breakfast came out in 2014 but I’ve had a real surge since May when That Sweet Place: At Home in the Heartland was printed.
“How do I publish a book?” is a loaded question, with an even more loaded answer. When someone poses the query, before I respond, I first have several questions for the one asking:
1. Do you mean self-publish a book or are you wondering how to get a traditional publishing contract and (here’s the cliché so many ask with a laugh) appear on The New York Times Bestseller List?
2. Are you competent with a computer in terms of uploading files, proofing online, and communicating your needs without ever seeing the human beings working on your book?
3. Do you need to sit down with a person and have that person walk you through everything?
4. What are your goals with the book: to say you have a book out and be happy if a few friends and family members read it, or are you seeking a broader audience?
5. If you expect a broader audience, are you willing to put yourself and some money out there – seeking venues such as author fairs, book clubs, speaking programs, blogs, media interviews – to sell your book for a season of your life?
6. Are you easily discouraged? Some venue organizers will invite you and treat you like a celebrity. Some won’t be great for you. Some, frankly, won't even book you. Can you deal with all that?
Oh, I have more questions besides, but the answers to those will tell me how to answer the person asking that one question.
There seems to be so much interest in self-publishing people’s memoirs, poems, family history or fiction that I decided to compile everything that I wanted to know when I asked that same single question – How do I go about publishing a book? -- and create a program that I can offer to libraries or other community groups that might have an interest.
My resulting program rolls out in Franklin County at two libraries on Wednesday, Aug. 3. At 11 a.m. I’ll speak and field questions at the Brookville Library and at 2 p.m. I’ll be at the Laurel Library. If you are interested, simply come on down to scenic Franklin County. You might say this is my pilot run to see how it goes.
I will tell you up front that I’m not an expert, and this isn’t a how-to guide to merging files or explaining why a 72 DPI-resolution photo will not work for a cover image. Those would be of interest, maybe, but would be another program.
The talk I’m offering is an overview of my experiences in deciding to self-publish, then what the process has been like and what to expect after the book is ready. I don’t think that enough self-published authors consider the after enough. They need a game plan.
I’m not representing any one company, but I can tell you the positive experience I’ve had with CreateSpace, the self-publishing wing of Amazon, and if you prefer working one-on-one with a publisher and need someone to help you in person, I have two people in Indiana whom I know personally, and whom I can recommend.
More than anything, my program provides a whole lot of questions to ask for those who aspire to see their books in print. Even if I don’t have the answers (and I do have quite a few of those) I have questions that writers will want to ask themselves before embarking on this interesting journey. You have to know the questions before you can get at the answers you really need.
If you are a librarian or simply a library frequent flier, consider booking or recommending me to give this program. And of course, I’m booking ladies groups in particular for my new program, “Bloom Before You Are Planted.” For would-be writers or authors, I also have a program called “Finding Your Voice and Audience.” I can also tweak a talk to your individual needs.
Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook on my author page at: Donna Cronk.