• Publishing the Book I'm Writing, Part II

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    Today we pick up where we left off yesterday, with Dan L. Hays sharing with us a response to a fan’s questions about writing and publishing.


    So my Plan B became to self-publish. I studied this segment of the industry a lot, and advances in technology have changed it dramatically in the last several years. Mainly, because of what is called Print On Demand publishing. It used to be that if you self published (AKA vanity publishing) you would pay a publisher, who would run off a number of your books, which you were then left with trying to sell out of your garage.

    With POD, they store electronic copies of your book, and copies are only printed as they are sold (thru Amazon or Barnes and Noble online). For the writer, this means your up front investment is much, much less. If you don’t add on the publicity packages and additional services you can get, you could publish a book for $500 to 600 base price.

    POD has become a very attractive alternative to traditional publishing, since you have control of the process, instead of waiting for the publisher to put you in their printing queue. The other side of that coin is that anyone can publish a book very inexpensively now, so a lot of people are doing it, and the market is being flooded – I’ve heard numbers like 200,000 new books a year. So the competition gets incredible, and you still have to fight the old school bias against self publishing – I heard the editor of Publishers Weekly say at a writer’s conference that they wouldn’t even consider reviewing a book that had been self published.

    So really, any publishing route you go – traditional or POD, you’re essentially stuck with providing all of your own publicity. Which is where most writers are at a disadvantage. If you don’t have any desire to speak in front of groups, that’s a limitation, because no one will find out about your book unless you speak and tell them about it. An author friend and I have both done an extensive number of radio interviews to promote our books, and there are a number of ways to line up interviews, but you will need to have talking points about your book, and have practiced it, so you will interest people enough to buy the book. The advantage here is, that if you’re willing to do that, you’ve separated yourself from most writers, who just don’t want to talk.

    I look at it like I have three hats to wear. Writer, Publisher, Publicist. They are all so distinctly different that it serves me well to only wear one at once – don’t put on the publicist hat until I’m through with the publisher hat, that sort of thing. And the whole process is like running a marathon. I used to train with a group in Austin. We’d start Labor Day with 1,200 runners. By February, about 300 would finish the marathon. So you really have to commit to the process!

    Maybe the way to start is to address the fear – I had two books that I didn’t publish (and now will) because of underlying fears! That’s a big resistance point and can get in your way.

    Let’s keep this dialogue open, and if my response brings up further questions, please feel free to ask me and we’ll talk it all through!



    Lost creativity and the effects of family alcoholism are just two of the elements of the story Dan L. Hays explores in his first published book, Freedom’s Just Another Word, which chronicles events around the time of his father’s death. It is the first of a cycle of seven books about healing old wounds with his father. That cycle will culminate with Nothing Left to Lose, written in 1993, about a critical turning point in his father’s life, depicted from a perspective of forgiveness and admiration.

    Dan has been pursuing his craft for more than 25 years. His passion has always been writing, but he had a writing block that he could not understand for many years. He wrote two books that publishers were interested in, but he backed away and the books were never published.

    Read more of Dan’s work on his blog and at Life as a Human, or follow his various radio features.  You can also catch him on Twitter and Facebook.


    And while you’re at it, catch WriteByNight on Facebook and Twitter, too. We appreciate the support.

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