Writing from the Deeper Self
Bringing Your Treasures into the World . . .
The book of your heart awaits you...
In-person in Oakland, CA (by phone/email if out of SF Bay Area)
653-ROSE / (510) 653-7673
I welcome you to contact me
to set up a free initial exploratory session.
PUBLISHING YOUR BOOK
On this page:
Congratulations--It's a Book!
Self-Publishing vs. Being Externally Published
What's Involved in Getting Published
Looking Down the Road--Promoting Your Book
A Word of Hope
CONGRATULATIONS ~ IT'S A BOOK!
After all the work and joy and transformation of writing a book from the deeper Self is over ~ once the "baby" (weighing perhaps a few pounds and totaling perhaps 200-300 pages) is born and you can actually hold it in your hands ~ what then? Here you are, a proud and tremulous new parent, with a publishable book to offer the world. ("Publishable" means, in my way of thinking, that a manuscript is worthy of being published: it is well written, it has substance, it engages the reader from the inside out, it takes the reader into and through the universal human journey. And it lives inside the reader long after the last page has been turned.)
VS. BEING EXTERNALLY PUBLISHED
TO SELF-PUBLISH OR NOT TO SELF-PUBLISH?
Does this automatically mean that your book will get published? Well, if you are willing to consider self-publishing as one of your options, then yes. Self-publishing has become a very reputable option for authors, offering such advantages as:
* The guarantee of being published.
* Total creative control.
* Quick turnaround time from manuscript to book-in-hand. (With an outside publisher, the turnaround time tends to be about a year between
when you deliver the finished manuscript to the date of publication.)
* You have to do much of the promotion of your book anyway, even if it is externally published, so you can do it for yourself just as well.
* You get to keep a greater percentage of the profits.
On the other hand, self-publishing--depending on how extensive you want to get, and how many copies you decide to print--can be a lot of work, requiring you to hire appropriate people (e.g., editor, proofreader, book designer, cover artist, promotional material writer/publicist) and put in a lot of hours.
Nevertheless, many self-publishers have declared their experience to be worth it, in terms of creativity, control, and (sometimes) economics. And you would be in good company: famous authors Virginia Woolf, Walt Whitman, Stephen Crane, and many others have begun their publishing career by taking matters into their own hands. In our time, Berkeley, California novelist Dorothy Bryant (The Kin of Ata Are Waiting for You, Ella Price's Journal, etc.) is solely self-published, and has reached a large and loyal following over several decades. I myself have self-published several books, doing the typesetting (on computer) and cover art (I was trained as an artist). I promoted one self-published book, MotherWealth, by selling it at my local bookstore (it "sold out"! I was in heaven! Of course, I had only given the bookstore manager about 15 or 20 copies) and doing readings in my home where friends and friends of friends came to listen in an intimate atmosphere and, of course, buy the book.
And sometimes it happens that an author self-publishes the book, and then it is picked up by an external publisher, on the basis of its track record selling enough copies to suggest to the publisher that there is money to be made in publishing that book. This is what happened to Bernard Kamaroff, the author of Small-Time Operator, the startup businessperson's bible. Kamaroff, originally an accountant (I believe), wrote a handy, laid-back handbook in the 1970s for people who wanted to take their hobbies and interests and turn them into a functioning business: to get the receipts out of the shoebox and into some more professional system, and the like. His book did so well that he reprinted it every time his previous print run sold. This went on for many years, and then finally it was picked up by an external publisher, Warm Snow Publishers. It's still available, and an excellent book.
Still, if he hadn't taken the bull by the horns, believed in his project, and just gone ahead and done it--proving its value to readers--who's to say whether it would have gotten published or not?
BEING PUBLISHED BY AN EXTERNAL PUBLISHER
Of course, there are advantages to being published by an external publisher, too. No doubt about it, it confers a certain prestige to be published--and the thrill of finding out that yes, they want your book, is something first-time book writers long to experience. There are other advantages, as well:
* An external publisher has the capability of helping your book reach a wide audience, through its associations with distributors, book buyers, book reviewers, and others involved in getting the word out. This means that you can reach an international readership, providing that your publisher takes your book seriously enough to feature it rather than neglect it. (You can--and will usually be asked to--help in the promotion by adding your time, energy, and, often, physical presence. But augmenting the efforts of a publisher is different from having to initiate every promotional effort on your own.)
* Some publishers (especially smaller ones) take their authors very seriously, and work with them hand-in-glove to respect the integrity of their book and give it the publication it deserves (and they can afford). This can be a very educational experience re: the publishing process, sometimes a creatively collaborative one (not always), and, at best, even a nurturing experience. (I regret to say that, according to common knowledge, this does not always happen. But I have heard of instances where it has happened.)
* Publishers can sometimes make really excellent suggestions about your writing. Being in the business of knowing the nature of a book and what tends to interest a readership, publishers may suggest changes in your manuscript that (after you've recovered from the surprise) turn out to actually improve it. While this means that your work isn't as over as you thought it was, it does mean that your book has a better chance of acceptance in the marketplace. (Note that I distinguish between acceptance in the marketplace and acceptance by your deeper Self. It's fine to build an extra room or sand down the walls for public viewing, but you don't want to tear down the foundation and put in someone else's blueprint.)
* Most publishers offer some kind of an advance against royalties. This means that you get a certain amount of money up front, on signing the contract (the amount varies). This is both helpful and exciting. (However, lest you start envisioning that you will immediately get rich on your book, bear in mind that the amount of money you have received as royalties will be deducted from the sales of your published book until your percentage of the sales equals the amount of the royalties you received. After that point, you start making a profit.
* Publishers usually ask for first dibs on your next book. While this doesn't mean they have to take it, it does mean they want an ongoing relationship with you, if you turn out to be a good thing for their readers
If you are the kind of writer who has a "next book" somewhere in the wings, this feature can work in your behalf.
There are other pros (and cons) of being externally published. But the thing to remember is that publishing is a business--and more so these days than, say, in the early 20th century, when the legendary Maxwell Perkins was the editor at Scribners, and the devoted supporter (personally and professionally) of such literary luminaries as F. Scott Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. Today's publishers tend to be bottom-line-oriented.
But there are exceptions: publishers--and people within those publishing houses--who have a vision of what our world can be, and who attempt (with varying degrees of success) to run their business according to that vision. These are the publishers that I seek out as a Book Developer, to learn about them and tell them about my work and the work of my clients. More than just a "strategic" business association, I view these relationships as "spiritual cooperatives," in that we are all (you, too) reaching to serve a greater purpose with the books we bring into the world.
WHAT'S INVOLVED IN
THE PRE-PUBLICATION PHASE
There are several phases a manuscript must go through before it appears as a book between covers. I can assist you with many of them. Those phases I don't do, I mention here so you know what they are. In some cases, I can recommend people worth working with.
* Editing. This is a phase I do offer. Going over your manuscript to make sure it reads smoothly and well, I look for any grammatical and spelling errors, of course, but also make sure that your writing is clear, organized, and sparkles like a diamond, saying exactly what you meant it to say, even more beautifully. (See "Editing" page on this website for more details.)
I also recommend Ralph Dranow as an editor:
* Proofreading. Once the manuscript has been typeset, it needs to be gone through to find any errors that would be embarrassing on the page. This includes typographical errors, last-chance spelling errors, and last-minute changes you want to make. Such errors don't matter in the writing phase, but once in a book they interrupt the reading flow, so it's important to catch them.
I no longer offer proofreading, but I highly recommend Gabriel Steinfeld of Steinfeld Proofreading:
* Writing Query Letters. I do this for my book-development clients only.
Whether you wish to interest an agent or approach a publisher directly, a query letter is almost always the first way to get their attention. Therefore, it must have ten times more thought poured into it than the space the words actually take up. Since I will have worked with you and come to know your book intimately, I can help you write a query letter that truly reflects the content and value of your book, and your credibility as its author--a letter that, we pray, will open all the right doors.
* Writing Book Proposals. I no longer do this myself. What follows is to give you an idea of what's involved.
If you are writing a nonfiction book, most publishers prefer you to submit a book proposal rather than the entire book at once. (This is only true for nonfiction.) In terms of actually writing the book, I strongly believe it's important to first write the whole thing, or at least most of it, so that you can enter into the experience and write from the deeper Self rather than an abstract idea. Books take time to come to life, and you don't want to deprive yourself of that living gestation. However, (a) you can still write a book proposal once the book is done (it's easier, actually), and (b) if you absolutely must do the proposal first, I can help you with that as well.
A book proposal generally contains several sample chapters, an overview of the entire book, synopses of unwritten chapters, a marketing overview, a comparison of your book to others on the market, your credentials in writing the book and your avenues for promoting it. (If all this sounds daunting, once you are sufficiently into the actual writing, it will be less so.)
* Determining Whether You Need an Agent.
Do you need an agent? Don't you need an agent? Should you go directly to a publisher? These are controversial questions, for which there is no single answer. By the time you are ready to look into publication, you will probably have an intuitive sense of what you need and who can help you. If not, I recommend perusing the site, Predators & Editors, as a start:
THE POST-PUBLICATION PHASE
At this exciting point, there are still things to do to ensure the excellence and success of your book. I can help with the following:
* Write an introduction to your book.
* Write a letter or call to ask some well-known person of your choice to write an introduction to your book.
* Write a short blurb(s) of your book for the book jacket.
* Help you write an author biography for the book jacket.
* Help you brainstorm well-known people in your field to send review copies for the purpose of lavishly endorsing your book (these will appear on or in the book itself).
* Other tasks involving writing or organizing written materials relative to your book. (If I can't do something myself that you need, I will try to find someone who can.)
You can call on me to provide any and all of these skills and encouragement when your time to need them comes. Meanwhile, it's good to know that after your "baby" has been born, it won't be abandoned in the nursery. It will be held and cared for all the way through, until both you and the "child" are strong and thriving, enjoying your readers' enjoying your book.
LOOKING DOWN THE ROAD ~
PROMOTING YOUR BOOK
It may be a
while before you are ready to think about book promotion. But one day,
that day will come. Whether you decide to self-publish or an external
publishing house signs your book up, as an author you will still need
to be a major force behind getting the world out about your book.
A WORD OF HOPE
In external publishing, it usually takes 1-2 years between the publishers acceptance of your manuscript and the time the book is released and "hits the bookstores" (which is when your promotional efforts will be needed). If all this seems like an impossibly lengthy and laborious process, just remember that a book that has the capability to live inside its readerslike yourslasts much longer than the linear time required to write or publish it. The inner processwhat took form within you, and let you know, like the whisper of an incarnation-to-be, that it was there, and to which, with great love and labor, you gave birthexists in a timeless realm. It is this realm that your readers are returned to when they read your book.
So keep in mindand heartthat it is this level of the deeper Self, which we all share, that your book arises from in you and is on its way to in your readers. The process of getting published may seem confusing and daunting and discouraging, sometimes, but your book itself is a gift. And as such, it has the power and the sacredness to cleave its own way.
Besides, its been my belief and experience that if you do whats yours to do with all your heart, soul, and awareness, then when the next step comes up, the resources needed to support that step appear.
On publishing and more:
One wonderful link is www.myqualitywriting.com, a comprehensive and generous-spirited listing of numerous things greatly helpful to a writer. Information on publishing and publishers is only one category. I strongly recommend it. Its creator is Dennis AuBuchon, the author of Integrity: Do You Have It? (2nd ed.)
For tips, knowledge, and a comprehensive understanding of what's involved in self-publishing, you can receive a free e-newsletter from Dan Poynter, called "Publishing Poynters: Book and Information-Marketing News and Ideas from Dan Poynter." If you want to see if this option is for you, or just get the lay of the land, Poynter is known as the expert in the field. The site is www.ParaPub.com.
On book promotion: