Today’s posting is a flat-out advertisement slash venting session. I admit that right away. I don’t want you to misread any hidden agenda on my part. Since I retired from the radio biz, I’ve written and published eleven books. I published the books myself because new technologies make it easy and inexpensive, plus you don’t have to sit around for several years collecting rejection letters from literary agents and big publishing houses.
The sacrifice I make for going the independent route is that I lose some of the “legitimacy” of being considered a real author—and maybe even a good one. The book industry can be a bit snooty at times, though I sense independent authors are beginning to gain some respect despite our still residing below decks in steerage. That said, it is up to me to do all my own promotion and marketing for my books. This is no easy task…and a costly one to do it right.
Another loss in going it alone is even more important. As a self-publishing author it is my burden to find good proof readers and editors to go through my books before they are published. True, I’ve had a few friends help me out with some of my books, but hiring professionals is ultra-expensive and I simply cannot afford them. Consequently, it is not unusual to find a mistake or two in my books.
Now, I have no delusions of grandeur. I have never expected to become a best-selling author with books flying off the shelves in amazon’s warehouse. Fact is, I sell very few—make that “hardly any.” This is partly because my books get very little exposure or publicity. A few family members and friends know my books exist. Anyone else has to stumble upon them and be lured in by the cover or have interest in the subject matter. Oh, did I mention the importance of the cover? Well, that’s actually the topic for today’s posting.
If I were forced to single out any of my books as a favorite, I suppose I would select DEAD LETTER. Indeed, people who have read it have nice things to say about it…and many of them are people I do not know. I designed the cover for this book, at least the concept, then I hired an artist to produce it. I knew at the time that it could be an issue, but it portrays such a poignant scene in the story that I just couldn’t NOT go ahead and use it. If you read the book you will more than likely agree.
The book is sold primarily on amazon.com. It is such a remote find on amazon that it will show up only if you do a search for it by listing the book’s title ALONG with my name. If you don’t add my name to the search you will simply get pages and pages and pages of book covers, many containing neither the word, “dead” or “letter.” Why a search using keywords “dead” and “letter” does not find my book titled, DEAD LETTER yet finds many without those keywords will be a mystery to me no matter how many time I ask amazon and no matter how many times they try to explain something called an “algorithm.”
Adding insult to injury, amazon rejects all my efforts to advertise and promote the book (even when I pay to advertise) because the book’s cover does not meet their standards. What??!! How can I advertise the book if I do not show the book’s cover? Here’s the rub: amazon fully shows the cover of the book on its purchase page, but it rejects the cover showing up anywhere else. The problem? It’s the distant image of the back of a naked, middle-aged woman standing on the edge of a pier. There is no sexual connotation, certainly far less tame than many of the movies that amazon offers among its inventory. One other interesting note: DEAD LETTER is printed by Kindle Direct Publishing, an amazon company.
So there you have it—some of the trials and tribulations of an independent author/publisher. By the way, if you would like to learn more about DEAD LETTER, click on its trailer link to the right. If you would like to purchase the book, click on the cover illustration near the top of the right-hand column. And, If you are pursuing a career as an independent author, I offer you one little piece of advice about the cover of your book: make no butts about it.