Several years ago, I had completed my first novel, Red River Fever. Discouraged from having wasted a year with an editing/agent scam, I didn’t know what to do with my novel. I knew it was a good novel, and wanted to get it into print so I could move on to other books I wanted to write. My best writing friend, who had read my novel, recommended that I take a look at Booklocker.com, and consider using them.
After investigation, I submitted my book and Red River Fever was accepted, and in just a few weeks, my novel was in print. I was so pleased with Booklocker’s quality and service that I went on to write a couple of ebooks, including Just Write for Dinner: Planning, Producing, and Presenting Dinner Theatre and How to Market Your Book to Libraries. I also published a collection of short fiction, Stories of the Confederate South. I found myself as not only a published writer with a respectable publisher, but a writer whose books brought him royalties. The money I made from those books helped my family through some very difficult financial times.
After those years of hard work and learning with Booklocker, this year a book of mine has been accepted by a more traditional publisher (Jim Limber Davis: A Black Orphan in the Confederate White House), and a couple of others are under consideration for publication. Obviously, I am very excited. However, I know that without my work with Booklocker, and without the help the company gave me, the publishing of this new book would not have happened. Working with Booklocker has taught me lessons every writer needs to know and given me skills that every writer needs in this brutal business we have chosen – the business of writing.
First of all, I learned about the publishing business. From Booklocker, I learned the value and potential of working with a POD publisher. Since Booklocker rejects a good number of books submitted, Booklocker should not be thought of as a self-publishing company. Yes, there is a minimal set-up fee, but the craft of writing and the submission of writing are beset with expenses anyway, even if you are published by traditional publishers. Think of the costs of copies, postage, and travel that are required to get a book in print-even if you are lucky enough to find an agent (Agents do charge you for those expenses as he or she searches for a publisher). And if you self-publish, you have the initial (usually high) cost of getting your book in print to consider. For the cost of only one plane ticket, you can have your novel in print.
There are many success stories for POD authors, especially for Booklocker. Though marketing a POD book requires hard work and creativity, unless you are someone like John Grisham, you will find that marketing a book with a traditional publisher requires just as much work and creativity. There are some advantages with a traditional publisher in distribution and ease of getting your book into stores, but the royalties are smaller. Working with Booklocker was a perfect way for me to gain valuable battle experience in marketing. I quickly learned there was much I didn’t know about the retail world.
Thankfully, Booklocker is supportive of its writers. Through Booklocker’s informative articles in WritersWeekly.com, the writing contests it sponsors, the paying markets for writers it lists in its newsletter, and the free blog service it offers to it’s print authors, I gained knowledge, writing experience, and contacts, as well as needed money. Because Booklocker provides each book with its own page on the Web and free instructions on how to market your book via Internet, an author simply has to do the work required to make some sales. Royalties have always been paid promptly, and technical or writing advice is given freely. I really don’t know where else a beginning writer could receive this much attention and support.
From my Booklocker experience, I learned much more than I intended about computer technology and marketing on the Web. I learned how to effectively write and use emails to make money, how to use and create pdf documents, how to use templates, how to format and edit my work, and how to effectively design a book from cover to cover.
Years ago, I knew I wanted to be a writer. Booklocker has helped to teach me how to be one. Perhaps learning and growth is what writing is really all about.
Rickey E. Pittman, Grand Prize winner of the 1998 Ernest Hemingway Short Story Competition, is originally from Dallas, Texas. He earned a BA in New Testament Greek and an MA in English from Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas. After moving to Monroe, Louisiana in 1993, Pittman was added to the Louisiana Roster of Artists in 1998. Working closely with regional art councils, he was commissioned to write historical plays for Franklin (1997) and Madison (1998) parishes. Pittman presently teaches gifted English in northeast Louisiana. Write him at: rickeyp – at – bayou.com