The Making of _The Watchman of Ephraim_
At the end of 2010, when I wrote my debut novel _The Watchman of Ephraim_ I had no intention of self-publishing it. As with the manuscript I wrote before _TWOE_, as soon as I completed writing and editing it, I sent queries out to agents, this time 54 agents (with the first manuscript I queried 34 agents) and sat and waited. As opposed to the relative lack of interest in my first manuscript (because of the genre – Christian Spec Fiction - not an easy genre to sell into), this time I didn't have to wait too long to hear back from a half-dozen agents, all requesting the full manuscript for _TWOE_.
"Great," I thought – so I immediately sent out the half-dozen manuscripts and waited … and waited.
I hate to wait! I'm not built to wait, nor to sit back and accept the idea that the fate of my dream to write for a living is in the hands of complete strangers. So as I waited, I looked for options.
Late one night, I was reading an article about self-publishing written by - can you believe … an agent. Guess what the agent's conclusion was about the notion of self-publishing? You got it … she said things like "… it's a bad idea" and the more to-the-point "… you can ruin your career if you self-publish."
Even before reading that article back in late-December 2010, my impressions of self-publishing were that it was a low-quality, non-respected way for losers to publish – and those losers only turn to it when they get rejected by agents and legacy publishers. So, after reading that article, I was about to give up on the idea of self-publishing altogether.
That's when I saw a comment left at the end of the article written by a self-published author named Laura Resnick. Out of kindness I won't give the agent's name because I'm not trying to single her out. In fact, she was merely voicing the opinions of many (but not all) agents.
Laura wrote a scathing rebuttal to all of the opinions put forth by the agent, in the article. Line-item, she refuted every single conclusion that the agent attempted to make about self-publishing. I was blown away … enough for me to contact Laura. She was so kind and helpful – which is exactly how, I soon discovered, the entire self-publishing community is.
Laura pointed me to the website of long-time author and publisher, Dean Wesley Smith. Dean had published three different blog streams – Killing The Sacred Cows of Publishing, New World of Publishing, and Think Like a Publisher. Over the next 24 hours, I read every word of all three … and my life changed forever!
Dean not only did away with all the myths surrounding traditional publishing and self-publishing, but he walks the reader, step-by-step through the entire process of becoming a self-publisher!
I was convinced, I was hooked, I was converted, and I was devoted from that moment on to what I like to call "The Tao of Dean Wesley Smith!"
The very next day, I began following every step that Dean suggested in his – published for free - blogs. The man changed my life, gave me the opportunity to pursue my dream … and he didn't even require a penny's payment! I sent him a donation check anyway. Hey, Dean provided me with a master's course in self-publishing, saving me untold amounts of money and time in the plethora of mistakes I would have inevitably made. I think that's worth paying the man!
Exactly 30-days later, I not only had 'opened' my own publishing house, JarRyJorNo Publishing, but I had PUBLISHED my first novel!
All Praise to Him … and Sensei Dean!
There are lots of steps that an author must take in order to professionally self-publish. The first is to act like a publisher – not just the author, but the publisher. That not only means opening a DBA and checking account, it means learning how to perform the many duties and obligations of a publisher.
Michael Gerber wrote a great set of books called _E-Myth_ and _E-Myth Revisited_ where, among other things, he talks about the need for entrepreneurs who open their own businesses to create an organizational chart that lists all of the organization's positions with job descriptions attached. The next step Gerber says to take is for the entrepreneur to fill his/her own name into each box. Gerber correctly points out that even when you have a business where you are the only employee, you must define the various job duties and then apply yourself to each one! In this way, you take ownership for each duty – and from the entire process, you get a deeper and clearer understanding of what it takes to run a successful business, where you are the only employee.
I found Gerber's books to be invaluable when it came to setting up my own Self-Publishing house. In order to publish _The Watchman of Ephraim_ I had to wear both hats – author and publisher, which meant I had to perform/accomplish the following tasks:
+ Open a DBA (Doing Business As) company
+ Create an Author's website and my Publisher's website
+ Open a checking account for my publishing house
+ Make my manuscript ready for eBook distribution with Smashwords, Amazon & B&N
+ Make my manuscript ready for print distribution with CreateSpace and Lightning Source/INGRAM
Those are the macro steps. Within each macro step are sub-steps like:
+ How you will create your websites
+ Settling on an application to make-ready your print version (I invested in Adobe's InDesign® program
+ Following the various formatting steps of each eBook distributor (they vary slightly)
+ Creating a cover design (something I did myself)
+ ISBN purchase and assignments
+ Library of Congress application
+ Logo design for my Publisher
There are some sub-steps to the sub-steps but the bottom line is …
It is now possible to self-publish your written works in a professional way and turn out a quality product that can rival the very best that a legacy publisher can offer!
That's incredibly exciting to me and LIBERATING! No more waiting for anyone to get back to me only to reject me because my work wasn't low hanging fruit to them (easy to sell to their favorite legacy publishing houses).
By the way, you may have noticed that I left out things like actually knowing how to write fiction works, researching them, and editing. That's because those things have to be done whether you self-publish or not. If you don't know how to do those things … you shouldn't be trying to publish your works of fiction in the first place!
I implore anyone who is contemplating self-publishing to read the three blogs I mentioned above by Dean Wesley Smith. You can also find other valuable self-publishing sites along with my own SelfPubbers Pub blog here.
Self-Publishing has allowed me to pursue my dream. If self-publishing is your dream too, then I hope this article has helped you on your way! If you have any questions, you can always reach out to me at: mailto:Gerard@JarRyJorNoPublishing.com. Now get to it!
Gerard de Marigny is the author of the geopolitical thriller, _The Watchman of Ephraim_, Book 1 of THE WATCHMAN OF EPHRAIM series. The sequel, _Signs of War_ is scheduled for release in September 2011.
Gerard de Marigny resides in the beautiful foothills of Las Vegas, NV with his wife Lisa and his four sons. When not bending an arm with friends at the local pub, he's putting to paper the stories and characters that are alive in his mind.
Author's Website: www.GerarddeMarigny.com
Author's Blog: SelfPubber's Pub
Social Networking Sites
Facebook Page: www.Facebook.com/GerarddeM
Amazon: Gerard de Marigny Books
Barnes & Noble: Gerard de Marigny Books
Smashwords (all eBook formats): _The Watchman of Ephraim_
Personalized, signed copies are available at the author's website: www.GerarddeMarigny.com (all transactions secure via PayPal)