Looking back, I must admit that I was a pain in the ass to my parents and some of my earlier bosses. I mean I like authority, but only when that authority is mine. I have never done well with words like “can’t” and “don’t.” Even today, the people who work for me understand that I often make rules…and then I’m the first to break them. I also tend to hire people who either have flippant attitudes or are control freaks in their own way. I like edgy, sometimes unruly employees because what I also get from them is creative solutions.
I have never used rose-colored glasses to filter my past. Many parents do when advising and instructing their children. I’ve always been honest in sharing with them that I did more things the hard way than the right way. I took shortcuts, practiced “ready-shoot-aim,” and did things “my way.” I also shared with them the most important part of any choice – there is always a price to pay for our actions. Sometimes the price is a good thing…and sometimes it’s not. The price is not as important as your commitment to pay it.
Surprisingly, such revelations did not lead my five children down a path of “devil may care.” Overall, they have made far better decisions than me. In other words – they actually learned from my mistakes, but also recognized the importance of thinking for themselves. Of course they made some of their own mistakes and of course I bailed them out when required (I like a little attitude in my children too). I can count on one hand though how many times my kids were “grounded.” I’m not a fan of “grounding.” Not because some events didn’t warrant it, but I’m not the jail-keeper – “you get less than a B and I’ll start micromanaging your studies” – “you wreck the car, you pay the deductible” – that’s the lesson, that’s the price, and it’s better than me paying and them being locked in their rooms for some period of time.
(In case your wondering how they really turned out – we have one college grad (scholarship), one in law school(scholarship), one restaurant manager, one in college(scholarship), one in high school headed for the Air Force -all of them under the age of 24)
Ah yes that’s right, we’re here to talk about book publishing.
For many reasons I love being an Indie author. Mostly because we get to write a lot of the rules. The traditional publishing club would be lovely validation – but it won’t necessarily help sell many books. You might get an advance of say $5,000 but that’s not going to let you quit your job. And you’re still gonna need to self-market. True, that the best-selling authors embody some fantastic stories of fame and fortune. I certainly suggest that every author – independent or not – keeps sending those query letters – that just makes good business sense. But on the other hand, what if you do your own marketing? What if on your own you reach the top 20 on Amazon or Smashwords? Not only will you have achieved your dream – but the traditional publishing contract negotiations are going to be a lot more fun.
Traditional publishing does however help to achieve the biggest dream of all – your book on the shelf at Barnes & Noble! There it is, just waiting for the masses…alongside about 7,000 other books. But it will make a difference right? I mean shelf space is “it” in book marketing.
I’ll let you know
My novel is now on the shelves at Barnes & Noble. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be – in fact the secret was there in front of me the entire time. How did I get my books on the B&N shelf as an Indie author? Easy…
I put it there myself. I told you I don’t like rules. I mean there is a law against “taking” merchandise from a store – but there isn’t any law that prevents you from placing merchandise in a store. So I took some copies of my book, put them in my wife’s handbag and we went to several book stores. I placed them in different areas of the store for display. I went back to one location and an employee had found them all…and moved them to the literature section -under E for Esposito. The employee must have liked the cover because she gave the books extra real estate by facing the cover out.
Will that change my path to fame? Probably not. Is it the same validation as a publishing contract and a few quid advance? Nope, but I’m not looking for that kind of validation. For me it is a shortcut to test the reality of the shelf space dream. The books are there – anyone can find and purchase them. The reality isn’t getting the books onto a shelf – it’s people buying them. When you really consider the difference between a publishing contract and book sales, you start to recognize that publishing contracts and agents aren’t your real goal and shouldn’t be your real focus. Readers are your focus…and there are limitless ways to market, communicate and reach your audience without a publishing contract.
I’ll let you know if the books sell. It’s an arduous task because I have to check each store LOL. And hey if it works, if it catapults me to fame, just remember…this is our little secret okay?