Letters To The Editor For February 18th

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My Oh My, How Things Have Changed

It was great to read how you got started with self-publishing, Ang. Very interesting.

My first “publication” was hand-done and I called it something like “Hilltop News.” It was a pseudo-newspaper for my grandmother, who’d moved 400 miles away. I was 10. My family had moved into the house she’d occupied for many years before, on top of what was then a high hill, a killer to pedal up on a single-gear bike. Now, when I return to that part of Texas, I find that someone has replaced that hill with an ever-so-slight elevation in the flat plains. My one-pager, though, may have started me on my first career, in journalism.

Thanks for the recollection of your start.

— Bob

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Dear Angela,

I just had to respond to your challenge to write about our early beginnings. Long before I knew I was a writer, I sat at a manual typewriter and created handbooks about growing and using herbs for friends who asked for advice. I typed two pages to a single horizontal sheet; every mistake meant retype the entire page. Pages were copied and hand stapled (yes, it’s hard to get a stapler to reach to the center of an 81/2 X 11 booklet.)

Over the past nearly twenty years, I’ve moved up to a computer, used a POD to self-publish two books, bit the bullet and got two novels published and out in the world, and used a traditional publisher (but no advance) to publish my latest effort, Living With A Depressed Spouse.

My present project is helping a computer-illiterate friend create a book of memoirs/poetry, which will be produced by a POD company.

Yeah, the tools of getting a book published have evolved over the years, but I still remember the thrill of holding that first “book” in my hand.

Gay Ingram
http://www.authorsden.com/gayingram
http://www.coffeehouseforwriters.com/fictionfix/0812%20Ingram.html

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Hi Angela,

I’m still out here! Glad you are too!

I’ve never self-published a book using the methods you described, but I do go back to the days of rubber cement and paste-up.

I used to publish newsletters, white papers, catalogs and other marketing materials–mostly for clients, using the old-fashioned methods. For example, I produced a catalog where I took the photographs, developed the photographs, wrote the copy, spec’d the copy, ordered the typesetting, spec’d the halftones (for the photos), cut-up the type, and pasted-up all of the various components (including various border tapes, and rubylith), using rubber cement and non-repro, blue-lined layout boards that would then be delivered to the printer. The printer would make halftones, shoot negatives, create proofs, burn plates and print and bind the job. I never had one ounce of graphics training, but got my education on the job. (I had a great boss – ME.) What an education! It still serves me well today. I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Best wishes to you and yours,

Lloyd Lemons
Commercial Writing and Collaboration
http://www.lloydlemons.com

When Authors Aren’t Willing to Market Their Books (article)

Angela –

I am the author of five books, working on my sixth. I have never sefl-published and my current publisher is Mercer University Press in Macon, Georgia. My first two books were with small publishers in Texas and in Georgia. I got with Mercer and they published my third, fourth and fifth books and also reprinted my first two. I thought when I signed with Mercer my days as being my own marketer were over – WRONG! Mercer did very little for me by way of promotion, so I began to hone the skills I had attained through marketing my first two books. It is a necessity to do this. Marketing is the life blood of publishing, especially at my level.

Someone asked me recently why I had a new book every two years, and not every year. I answered that it takes me a year to write the book and a year to market the book. I am a person who will go anywhere and everywhere to push my books. I go to book festivals, teach writing courses, talk to Rotary groups, do it all. I don’t think there is a place these days for anyone who “just wants to write.” At least that is my opinion.

JACKIE K COOPER
http://www.jackiekcooper.com