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Thursday, June 28, 2012

3 Things I Learned from a Publishing Contract


The following is syndicated from the blog Help Me Self Publish and is posted here with permission.

Okay, I have a friend (no really, it's not me) who self published her book a few years back before it was all the rage, and then got picked up by Barnes & Noble

At the time, I had just started writing my book, Say Bump and Take a Left. How I Birthed a Baby and a Business After a Huge Bump in the Road, and I was imagining all the wonderful success that awaited me: my pick of Agents offering Publishers who fight over the right to publish my manuscript through a six figure advance bidding war...

Now a word from our Reality...

My friend started emailing me asking for my opinion on "the new book cover the publishers are using". Frankly, I liked her cover better, and was confused as to why B&N wanted to change it. Didn't they choose her book because it already had success with a brand? Why would they throw that away? And that was just the beginning as my friend emailed often with changes being made to her book (along with her disappointment). But, at least she had her advance, and the publishers would be taking over the marketing, distribution and sales, right?

WRONG!

She still markets her book, even today, and she still distributes and sells the version of her book she already self published and printed in bulk (prior to the advent of POD), because, of course she isn't going to just throw them away!

Lessons:

3. You accept that advance and sign your name on the dotted line, and you lose all control!
2. You are still totally responsible for marketing your own book (aka sales)!
1. Who's baby is this anyway?

I thought, "This won't happen to me...(eyes glazed over slipping back into the pick of agents, 6 figure bidding war dream) they will love my book just as I've written it!) So, I finished my book, and started sending out query letters.

And more query letters...

And more query letters...

Sound familiar?

I was despondent. I really, really didn't want to learn another profession all over again - I did that with MommyLoves - and I readily and gladly told everyone so when they suggested self publishing. Oh, how bitter my words tasted. If I really wanted my book to go out into the world proclaiming my little, '2 broken legs while 8 months pregnant' life lessons, I was going to have to self publish.

Enter stage left, big sigh, and dig in...

I did it...Had a wonderful friend (who also happened to be a professional copy editor) edit my manuscript...Made changes, and edited again...Made more changes, including the title, and had a cover created with one of my own pictures...Learned how to format for all online readers. I self published, and never looked back.

Back to the Number One Lesson I learned above ~ It's My Baby!

Three months ago, I had an amazing experience with one of my readers. A gentleman who read my book, contacted me to tell me how profoundly my words had touched him and his wife. He thanked me, tearfully, for writing my experiences, and said that he and his wife were rearranging their life goals to have one of them stay home with their infant son and raise him, rather than working to pay a nanny to do so.

I cannot express how touched I was by the knowledge that my words had so greatly impacted another life - three lives, actually. I wonder, would the impact be the same had a publisher taken control of my baby and sent it out into the world with their message?

Who will determine the message your baby tells the world?



Where to Find Mary Kathryn Johnson


  1. Her Website
  2. Mommy Loves (her first business)
  3. Mommy Loves (her second business)
  4. One Blog
  5. Another Blog
  6. Another Blog (the one about self publishing)
  7. Twitter — @SayBumpandTweet


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