“So, while the independent publisher/author has the full responsibility of financing, layout, cover, printing, publicity, marketing and even distribution and fulfillment, the satisfaction derived from the control and ability to influence the action is well worth the additional effort. “
Why did you become a book publisher? To avoid the bureaucratic hassle of trying to find a traditional publisher for my writing. In discussions with normal publisher's representatives, it was apparent that in normal arrangements, the author lost a great deal of control over the cover, the layout and other parts of the finished product. It was also apparent that while the publisher would do a little advertising or set up book signings, the author was still on the hook for much of the publicity and marketing phases. And all of that was dependent upon even finding a publisher willing to take a chance on a new author. Doing a cost/benefit analysis in terms of finances and time, it did not seem to be worth the expenditure. So, while the independent publisher/author has the full responsibility of financing, layout, cover, printing, publicity, marketing and even distribution and fulfillment, the satisfaction derived from the control and ability to influence the action is well worth the additional effort.
What do you like best about publishing? We are just getting started and do not have a great deal of experience, so we are on a continual upward learning curve on just about everything. Identifying challenges and learning ways of how to overcome them and improve them with the new tools and resources available to the new author/publisher is what makes publishing exciting and enjoyable to me. The positive remarks and comments of satisfied readers also makes it a gratifying experience.
What do you publish? We have only published two books up to this point. One is a cookbook that won several awards and a non-fiction memoir dealing with the Vietnam war.
What is the most effective form of marketing for your press? We have found social media to be the most effective at this stage in our development.
How do you define a successful title? One which has received enough exposure to provide a financial return sufficient to cover expenses. I suppose there are other considerations that "if the book inspires someone to do something along the lines the author encourages, then the effort will have been worth it". While that is a great esthetic goal for many titles, it is difficult to measure or quantify. Our books are not intended as guides for internal or external improvement, so a few attaboys to go along with the financials defines a successful title.
Tell us about one of your titles about which you are especially proud. Young Soldiers Amazing Warriors: Inside One of the Most Highly Decorated Battalions in Vietnam is a book about young men in 1966 and Their War. This true story of a year in combat describes the everyday routine of jungle living with its natural hardships as well as the heavy fighting that ensues when the enemy is confronted. It is a story of bravery and courage from teenagers just out of high school. In some of the fiercest fighting of the Vietnam War, men fought, sacrificed and died for their friends, earning numbers of awards and decorations seldom seen in one unit for such a short period. Included in these symbols of bravery and achievement, were four Medals of Honor, the nation's highest award for courage and valor. The survivors returned to an uncaring nation, yet contributed to society without fanfare or demands. Only in the last few years has it become trendy to "thank a Vet". This book tells their story so a reader can experience what they went through to deserve that thanks.
What has been your biggest challenge in achieving success? Learning how best to use ever-changing technology to accomplish tasks. As soon as something is learned, there is a newer and faster way to accomplish it. The requirement to remain flexible in all things is sometimes difficult and frustrating.
What advice do you have for newcomers to book publishing? Study everything anyone has ever written about publishing in the electronic age. Particularly the self-publishing books, blogs, documents and manuscripts. Learn and use social media to provide exposure and publicity to individuals and groups. Identify your niche market and become the expert in its demographics and social constituency.
How will you and your company be positioned in five years? We will likely still be a small organization, publishing our own books with perhaps an outside client or two. We are not striving for an increase in organization, but are concerned about publishing quality books that have meaning to a selected audience or telling stories that a broad readership will enjoy.
When you're not fully immersed in publishing, what do you do for fun? As a guest speaker, I involve myself in educating groups about veterans and their difficulties in transitioning from military to civilian life. I am also involved in a veteran's organization that takes wounded veterans on trips to national parks for river and backpacking trips to provide therapy in nature where younger veterans can be mentored by older veterans who have undergone similar trauma or experiences. I am a dedicated racquetball player and enjoy mountain climbing, hiking and backpacking. I am starting to become involved in cross country biking as well.
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