Ten years ago right around this time, I was busy doing something I’d never done before. I was writing a book. It was a children’s book of rhymes. It was titled, Never Goose a Moose…and a bunch of other things you should never do. I have published a book every year since then. No, I don’t have an agent or a big New York publisher sending me off across the country for media interviews and book signings. A book deal has proved as elusive to me as a contract with a big record label is to many wannabe singers.
I became an independent author, self-published is the more common term. There are more of us today than ever before because of the technological advances in the printing industry. No longer does a writer have to warehouse stacks of books in his garage hoping for a best-seller. My books are published as what is called P.O.D., or print-on- demand. Thanks to digital processing, if you were to order a copy of one of my books, a person would feed the file to the printing press and make that one singular copy at the click of a mouse. It’s the same process many of you use to print a document from your desktop computer. And, since I have pretty much mastered how to prepare the file for printing out in the form of a book, it doesn’t cost me anything to publish…except the personal time and effort it took me to write the book.
While it may surprise some of you, I sell very few books. In fact, there are a couple that haven’t sold a single copy, even after receiving award recognition. I am sure, too, there are some who have read my work who would say they are not surprised at all that it doesn’t sell. Now, of course I’d like to be right up there with Stephen King or Harry Potter phenom, J.K. Rowling, but that’s not in the cards, or the books either for that matter.
Not selling a book does not necessarily mean it’s a train wreck. There are other elements that come into play. One important one that can help determine the success of a book is its marketing. A publishing house usually has the resources—including money—to publicize, advertise and market an author’s work it chooses to publish. Independent authors do what they can to promote their work and after that it’s mostly fate that drives book sales. Friends and relatives usually don’t number enough to have any substantial impact and, quite honestly, most congratulate you and pay you compliments, but very few of them ever actually purchase or read your work.
So why does an unsold author still continue to write? I guess it is the same with a starving artist who continues to paint or a musician who continues to puff air into a horn while the dogs in the neighborhood howl. The art is in you and regardless of how much merit it has, you, as its keeper, are compelled to let it out, release it, expose it to the world. It is yours to create; not yours to judge.
So that is why I just launched my 11th effort title Again. It is a bit of a different kind of novel for me. It is more of a romance story, but one with lots of questions about how true is true love. And, oh yeah, no one gets murdered in this book. I have billed it as my last book. I think I have released more than enough of the inner me into the atmosphere and it’s time I do other things I also feel compelled to do–things that may be easier than writing 11 books…like learning how to play a guitar, discover a permanent pain-killer for arthritis, or really really understand what the cat is saying to me when we’re nose-to-nose staring at each other.
Purchase Again at amazon.com (search “again, kuhn” and both digital and paperback versions should show up). The book’s website is at: againkuhn.com and info/links to my other books can be found at marckuhn.com