“If you think education is expensive, try ignorance“- Derek Bok
Book Publishing Ignorance
Three years ago, I learnt that ignorance is truly expensive. I had embarked on the daunting task of publishing my first book and wanted to do it professionally and celebrate its launch in style. So, I gathered a team of about thirteen persons and with great enthusiasm shared my vision of transforming lives through my writing and speaking career. I contacted a publisher through a mutual friend and then began the publishing process, not realizing I was about to bite off more than I could chew.
I did not go the traditional publishing route and thus was introduced to the world of independent publishing. I had chosen a boutique publishing house, without fully realizing at the time that I would be required to find all the money to publish my first book and launch it.
Nevertheless, I had great faith. I believed I could have raised the money to publish my book and print 5000 copies and have a successful launch. It was not long before I realized I was truly in over my head. Nevertheless, over the next five months, I worked steadily. I acquired the services of a top of the line Jamaican graphic artist whose work is phenomenal. I wanted to print my book in colour and as such I began seeking sponsorship in earnest.
I met with my team weekly and began preparing for the big day. I researched the publishing process thoroughly and had my eyes set on becoming a best-selling author. Then three months before the launch, the tide turned. The sponsorship efforts were not going well at all. The money was not coming in as fast as I expected. I was in serious trouble. There were many days of fears, anguish, tears and dismay. To make matters worse, I put the publishing on hold fearful of the response to the book I had written. I was so scared. Could I handle the criticism that would come from sharing the details of my life? Would this book help anyone? Why am I writing in the first place?
Thankfully, I had a prayerful and strong support system. My team and family came to the rescue but they could not undo the entire process. My pastor reminded me about the many times I had done ministry overseas without any funds of my own and how God came through before and he would do it again. My mom encouraged me to finish the project and invested some of her own funds. One of my aunts and one of my brothers along with some 21 others invested in the project, and after 64 rejections and host of other problems, my first book was launched in a magnificent two-day affair!
Unfortunately, the sponsorship had not even covered half of the costs and I was indebted to many people. After the launch, mine was the task of repaying the debt and selling the book. It was a daunting task because my so-called marketing plan had failed and I had only printed 1200 books which were not easy to sell and to this day, I am still indebted from publishing my first book but I learnt a valuable lesson. “Ignorance is expensive and zeal without knowledge can be fatal.”
From Tragedy to Blessing
In the wake of this costly venture, I learnt all I could about the publishing process to avoid a repeat of my first attempt. As I prayed about the matter, I felt God telling me to publish for myself and although scared, I learnt the process and published my next book, “When Trees Talk” the following year at an incredibly reduced price. In fact, I spent less than J$200,000 in the process and the quality was in my opinion just as good. I printed a smaller quantity of books, just about 100, all of which were sold.
In fact, having learnt the process I rinsed and repeated it and today have published a total of six books, two not of my own. Newbie authors then started calling me to gain insights about the publishing process and I explained the process and the lessons I learnt from my 1.5 million-dollar mistake. Several of them went on to publish their books successfully. One even became an Amazon best-seller.
And while I have not cracked the best-seller code, I am now an authorpreneur who earns an ongoing stream of income from my books. My books have opened doors for me in places I never dreamed. With the advent of digital printing and publishing, publishing professionally does not have to cost you an arm and leg. Amazon CreateSpace and Amazon Kindle make it easier and of course there are other platforms too. YouTube makes learning the process easy if you are willing to invest the time to learn it.
Nevertheless, if you don’t have the time and do not wish to take on the process, you can outsource. However, do a thorough investigation and compare publishing prices. If you are a prospective Indie author in Jamaica, I can help you. I offer book publishing consultation so that new indie authors can publish without nightmares. I have affordable and professional publishing partners who can take your work from pen to printing without making you break the bank or becoming heavily indebted as I did the first time around.
If you would like to utilize my services, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll take the confusion out of book publishing for you and save you from making a 1.5 million dollar lesson.