For so long now, 50 years long, my writing has been at my side. Not always trusted nor always wanted, but always there nevertheless. It was the corner I ran to, the place to hide. Also the window to open, the place to breathe.

And here it is again with my new novel, A Family Garden.

Early on, two publishers were interested in the book and I was interested in them until their “suggested” changes became their required changes. I bent as far as I could, and then knew I would break if I bent any further. So I said, no. They said, good-bye.

Three agents next were interested. Then they, too, began to nibble at the book. I enjoyed a measure of synchrony with one agent in particular, so I engaged in six months of text/theme/character changes. Finally, the delayed responses and the continual change requests to make my book less “upsetting,” less “disruptive,” convinced me that we did not share an understanding of what the book was really about, and we too parted ways.

So (not to seek sympathy truly), I decided to self-publish A Family Garden, and to steer my ship into a sea of uncertainty alone with its buffeting winds and dimly perceived destinations in my spyglass.

How is it going? Storm tossed at present. And crowded. The seas are filled to bursting with a millions other boats, whose self-publishing captains are likewise piloting their vessels in a thousand different directions, all chasing the same goal: an interested reader.

In the short few weeks I’ve been in open water, I’ve found a number of such readers, and I thank them for providing safe harbor for my book in a quiet living room or a shady patio or high above the earth in a airplane zooming to their own destinations. I thank especially those who took the time to write a review on Amazon. Great reviews are critical in helping other readers click their mouse and select a copy of my book. The 5-Star reviews I’ve received so far are humbling and deeply appreciated!

Of course, my job now (and it does seem like a job quite frankly) is to find my way to other readers, to find islands and continents full of them. I ask myself how might I best to chart such a course?

Since I first self-published my memoir, Passage From England, eight years ago, the world of indie-published books has mushroomed to nearly 1000 books published each day on Amazon! That’s a seemingly boundless armada of hopes and dreams setting sail in uncharted waters at the same time as my own.

I wish them well, but I have to ignore them and focus on my own little vessel and how to keep it afloat. So here’s what I’m going to do:

  1. Continue running sponsored ads on Amazon to drive readers to the book (tricky keyword strategies)
  2. Continue researching and connecting with legitimate book promotion sites to list my book (harder than you’d imagine).
  3. Continue contacting reviewers to convince them to read the book and recommend it to their network (most don’t respond).
  4. Continue social media expansion on Facebook & Twitter & Instagram. This can be irritating to my friends; I get uncomfortable pitching and selling to them (even here!), but it’s helpful, too.
  5. Continue reconnecting with my old screenwriting contacts because A Family Garden would make a cool and cheap Amazon/Netflix series, which, needless to say would boost book sales (a long shot I admit).
  6. Continue offering free versions of the book to Kindle Unlimited members for 60 days. (It’s only $3.99 to purchase!)
  7. Continue offering free audiobooks to spread the word. Email me at frankjz@mysocalledparadise.com and I’ll send you a promo code on a first come, first serve basis (so do please hurry).
  8. Continue continuing on many other marketing activities, which I’ll spare you the mentioning of…

I’ll be casting off from each and every gentle shore, setting sail as I did in the Caribbean for the sandy cay or silent bay, sailing on the wind and in the sun. Yes, optimistic, foolish even as any writer would be to renew the enthusiasm of their 50 year obsession.

I’ll be updating you periodically, I hope not obnoxiously, on my journey with this new book of mine, A Family Garden.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Responses to What’s It Like To Publish Your Own Novel?

  1. Hi Frank,
    It’s great to see your recent postings on your blog. I’m currently reading my Kindle copy of A Family Garden. Really enjoying it! Thanks for sharing the publishing journey warts and all – very brave – and an honest account of what it’s like to get a book out into the world these days! I’ve forwarded your email newsletter to a few people I know who might connect with your blog and books.
    All the best to you!
    Virginia

    • Thanks Virginia. I’m going to try and keep a relatively regular blog going, but I’m traveling a bit this year, so we’ll see. I’m delighted you’re enjoying Garden. Please let me know when you’ve finished and what the experience was like. You’re an early supporter and an interested reader, and I’m interested in your take. Cheers.

  2. Dear Frank,

    I too am thrilled to hear from you once again… Barb and I now live in Westlake Village and I’m still working on my Hope4Vets.us project. I’m actually getting close to DOD funding back in Omaha… Go figure. The adventure continues, and I’m we’ve shared some adventures in our past. I wish you well, and can’t wait to read (or listen) to your new novel. My warmest wishes my friend.
    Kerry

  3. Dear Frank,
    I am thrilled that your new novel has been born! Without a doubt, it will reach many and will be a best seller. Your audience from The Passage from England are following you. My very best wishes as you cast off each gentle shore! You writing is a gift to all of us.
    Cheers,
    Alexandra

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