I published the book of Suck-a-toe in 1980. It was self published because the four publishers who were interested would not accept the book unless I gave them the right to change it anyway they wanted.
There was no way I was going to let them change one line. At the time I was on the board of the Women’s National Book Association (WNBA). One of the services offered to members were highly skilled professionals who could edit your book at a modest fee. I had my book edited and was told it was a really good book. At the time I was lecturing all over Los Angeles, Simi Valley and Orange County. I knew I had an audience that wanted my book.
The week the book was published I sold 900 copies. The schools were waiting for it. I learned then the value of publicity. My lecturing made the book known and that is what sold the book.
I bring it up now because of the change in the whole structure of today’s society. At the time I knew nothing about what it was to publish a book, but there were people to ask. I called the Library of Congress and a live human being answered. This person told me what I needed to know. They told me about the ISBN and how to register it with the library of Congress. I had to send them two copies of the book when it was published. This was easily accomplished and I knew that I was protected.
Today everything is on line – which is fine if you know what questions to ask. My new book, “The Monkey Lady” is my story, the life of an artist, and my involvement with a baby monkey which changed the direction of my life. I needed information and asked everyone I knew about today’s procedure. I ended up nowhere. In frustration I called my niece who is a budding writer. She recently joined a group of professional writers and told her of my problems. Her type of writing is different from mine so I did not think of asking her at first. Fortunately for me a member of her group told her of an organization called NAMW. This is the National Association of Memoir Writers. I thought what I had written was an autobiography. I have since learned that an autobiography covers every phase of one’s life- a Memoir is a focus on one phase of one’s life. From this group I finally got some answers.
One of the things I learned was today it is much easier for a writer to make a living self-publishing than applying to a major publisher. The major publishers make most of the money and for you as the writer to get your book out to the public, it still takes lots of exposure. That is accomplished today by having a website, blogging and appearing on facebook and twitter.
So what I now know is no matter how you look at it, marketing is everything. Marketing can be accomplished as I did with Suck-a-toe and the many lectures I gave, or by blogging and the social media in today’s world. If your story has enough to interest an audience they will buy your book.