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Getting a Story Out of Nowhere, Part II:
Careful What You Wish for

October 4, 2015: This from a Latest News bulletin, same date: I'm not sure if there's a catch to this or not. You know what they say about "If it sounds too good to be true..." Well, I just read about a new self-publishing system called Pronoun. The URL for the article is long, and appears at the tail of this posting. Then I went to pronoun.com. Free? It's all free? My inner skeptic cautions me to curb my excitement. Well, it's worth a visit. It's sky-high impressive. See what you think. You can copy and paste the URL for the article that gave me a heads-up: http://techcrunch.com/2015/10/03/pronoun-a-self-publishing-platform-for-authors-is-ready-to-serve-humanity/ncid=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Techcrunch+%28TechCrunch%29
I will post this announcement at the "Getting A Story II" page. If you have feedback, please send through our Contact form for possible posting there.

There's got to be a multi-faceted reason why one of our top-rated pages on this site is Getting a Story Out of Nowhere. Whether the driving need for a story is for a school assignment, a whimsy, to break through writer's block, or a beginner's need to write a novel in long or short form, there are many "out there" who are story-seekers.

I say "careful what you wish for" because, in my experience, though I'd saved up over the years to invest in my own writing, and though I went into creating and publishing our three novels without reservations and with the highest possible intentions (not for fame or fortune) of providing fascinating and uplifting fiction for wisdom-seekers, we now have an inventory of three books to promote and market.

Professionally Self-Publish

The focus of Part II is not Print on Demand vs. traditional publishing, though I have this comment to offer about that choice. When we formed Blooming Rose Press in the year 2000, POD was unknown to us, though I soon learned something sketchy about it from an author who published that way and then couldn't afford to buy his own books for resale. We began and continued to publish traditionally in the most professional way we could, complete with peer readers, professional editing, with assistance from a skilled graphic artist who created from our ideas, interfaced with our chosen printer, and stuck right with us until we received pallets of books delivered straight into our garage.

Uh-oh. Careful what you wish for. It has been said that promoting and marketing the book is at least as difficult as writing the finished book in the first place. Not only that -- since we launched Blooming Rose Press, so many complexities have entered the picture that for an author who has a day job and or a family, to keep up with changes and master techniques seems to require super-human abilities, energies, and additions to one's already-crowded 24-hour day. So here are some factors just to start with for an aspiring author to consider when self-publishing:

  • Promote and market
  • Run a business
  • Drill down and learn from the experiences of others
  • Weigh demands of travel along with online development
  • Grow a tough hide
  • Realize your segment of the 15% that buy books

-Are you able to shift from right-brain function into the left brain requirements to manage all facets of publishing, promotion and marketing as a business?

-If not, are you ready to research alternatives such as the array of POD publishers, and read all the fine print out front? (Be sure you have control over the book cover, front and back, and keep all rights to your work.) If you aim to query agents and publishers, are you really ready to spend that much time, energy, and postage to follow that route with the great possibility that you could well have spent the time, energy, and funds to self-publish? In my somewhat limited sphere I know of one author who sent out 200 query letters and actually landed a publisher for her novel. Another author whose niece got published spent at least a year or two doing the same thing. Now she's a blogger, not a published author. (Always remember that even if you garner a contract -- and that's another business decision requiring advance preparation -- along with an advance and promise of royalties, it's not the old days anymore. You will still be expected to work like a trojan to promote your book.)

-Are you in a position to travel and appear at book stores large and small, at least in your region to begin with?

-If not, are you prepared to devote a regular schedule to online pursual of visibility, including development of your own website, blogs, and social networking?

-Can you develop a tough hide that protects from remarks you may receive from booksellers, such as, "Fiction is a hard sell," or "Our customers don't read that kind of stuff"?

-Perhaps most important, have you considered this? To quote from David P. Leach, who has eleven years of special-market sales behind him at Thomas Nelson Publishing: "The real problem of poor book sales is not the absence of great books, the displacement of bookstores, the digital invasion, or the dreaded economy. It's the decline in readers." His guess, based on literacy research..."the book industry sells 90% of its books to about 15% of the American adult population."*

-Have you considered, based on the foregoing, the niche your story will occupy? If your novel targets a young-adult or adult audience, and the BISAC codes for your work indicate a fairly narrow niche, narrrow down that 15% to...? (BISAC codes are the publishing industry's standard -- Book Industry Standards and Communications -- codes used by many companies throughout wholesale and retail to categorize books based on topical content. These codes may, without your knowing it, be incorporated in your bar code. Yes, your bar code, another detail.) So if your passion is to write a romance, for example, what percentage of the originally estimated 15% will your niche be?

Okay, don't get us wrong. It isn't our aim to discourage anyone from self-publishing his or her novel, or from seeking publication. When considering any major project that incorporates creativity with business and good sense, we advocate planning ahead, knowing precisely what are the deepest motivations driving such a project, maintaining strong connections with those motivations throughout all the steps, and becoming educated about the big picture. That includes unknown technological changes as well as shifts in collective taste.

Stay in touch with resources listed in the Publishing section of the "Our Friends" page at this site. We highly recommend Dan Poynter's site; his link appears there. Also return to this page periodically, for we plan to post additional tips and new information as it comes to us.

*David P. Leach as quoted from IBPA Independent, May 2009 issue, p. 7, published by the Independent Book Publishers Association. All "Independent" excerpts found on this page are quoted with permission from www.ibpa-online.org.

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