Allen J Johnston

Author of The Divine Series

The official website of Allen J Johnston, the author of The Divine Series.

Should I Publish My Book Myself

You may be reading this post because you have run into a brick wall with agents or big publishing houses. Never fear. You have not hit the end of the road until you decide to give up. Everyday that goes by gives us less and less reason to use a big publisher. Fifty years ago, we were considered authentic and the real deal when and only when a publishing house agreed to publish our book. Today, that is not the case. As I have said in many past blogs, what really matters is that your book gets out there and into peoples hands for them to read. So, by now, you should realize that big publishing houses are no more than middle men. Yes, they may just cut you a nice size check for the rights to your story, but in my opinion, that is not success anymore. You want to be respected as an author, right? So, get your book out there and get it read. Before I go on, I want to point out a few areas where publishing houses do excel. They edit and then they edit more. They also pass on manuscripts that truly are not worth publishing. It's harsh, but it is the honest truth. I have been asked to read manuscripts that cause me to scowl as though I had just swallowed a bug. It was painful to read. But, that is beside the point.

EVERY author feels his/her stuff is the best. We are going to assume yours is the next best thing. So you want to overcome the handicap of not having a big publishing house take on your book? Do these two things: Have other people read your manuscript and give you honest feedback. Edit, edit, edit!!! Friends and family will want to tell you what you want to hear. Even after telling them to be brutal, they won't. Find someone, anyone you trust to read it. One of my editors reads my entire manuscript backwards, line by line, so she can catch grammar mistakes along with incorrect word use. I would suggest getting in contact with a college professor. It's what I did. I found a university professor and a teacher. The university professor was brutal. But, it helped me publish a manuscript that has gotten me amazing reviews and over 4000 book sales in three months. A community college is most likely best as class sizes are smaller and the teacher may be more open to other projects other than her students. Feel free to stop in the local elementary school and check there. You should find a teacher that wants to help. Especially in the summer months. Get with book clubs or other authors. This last option is most likely the best option for convenience. When you have edited and gotten HONEST feedback, then you are ready. Check in with my blog next week to start down that road to getting the book published...self published, that is.

My saga continues:

So, last I mentioned, I had gotten a glowing email from an agent who had decided against my book. I had actually received about three or four interactions with agents asking for more. I can't recall if it was three or four. Time does that to me. Anyway, that's besides the point. After some serious soul searching for a week, I decide I am no longer going to pursue an agent or a big publishing house. Why? you might ask. Because I believe I now have what it takes to be a respected author. I have good material or I would not have gotten so much positive attention so quickly. However, the main and real reason for going alone? I just won't give up control of my story to a stranger. I put too much time into it to do that. At this point, it's not about money for me. It's about making sure my story develops the way I want.

Now, here is where you need to try to follow in my footsteps. I became close with the manage of the Barns and Nobel in my home town at the start of my project. I got him involved with my books years before I published. He was supportive and very nice. I must say, I got very lucky there. When I actually put my book in his hand, he was shocked at the quality of a self published book and instantly ordered twenty of the first three books for his store. See how easy that appeared? My books were on the shelf just like that. I did not need a big publishing house. Each independent store can order your books. Now, don't go rushing out thinking that you are going to get your books in the stores. You might not want them in the stores. WHAT??? BUT, BUT, BUT.... you say? That is correct. For now, just get them on the shelf in your home town store. Be happy with that. There are reasons for this but I don't have time yet to explain or this blog will get too long. I have five Barnes and Nobles looking to put my books on the shelves. Those are just the few I contacted. Let me just say, if you don't have a big marketing plan, don't pursue the stores, yet. I will talk about marketing later. It's CRUCIAL!!! Getting them into the stores at the wrong time is a disaster waiting to happen.

I am way out of sequence here so let me back up. How did I put a book in Mike's hands(That is the store manager's name)? After a considerable amount of research, I chose to go with Amazon. They are, without a doubt, hands down, the cheapest for the quality. Their program really does a great job walking you through how to get your book set up with them. You can learn it in a day. I did. It's called createspace. Go take a look so you can feel some of the excitement build at the thought of becoming familiar with how you are going to finally publish your books. Createspace .

So, I figured this all out and then stated work on the cover. I own a photography studio by the name of Amber J Photography here in Lansing, MI, so I had a huge advantage. Amber was going to do my covers. If you want to succeed, you must, must MUST have a professional cover made. If you don't have the talent yourself, HIRE SOMEONE!!! If you don't, then you are selling yourself short and cutting the chances of success in half. Almost everyone, myself included, shops by the cover. The front, back and start of the book are what will sell. Go take a look at my covers. There is a lot of research that went into that, also. If you want to be a success, this is what it takes. Be meticulous.

Check out Createspace, figure out an amazing cover that really gets peoples attention. You want something that draws your attention. Go to your local big book store and peruse the books that are facing out so you can see the cover. See what gets your attention.

Okay, I have given you enough to think about. If anyone wants me to read any of their stuff for an honest opinion, feel free to contact me.

Allen J Johnston

The Divine Apprentice

The Divine Path

The Divine Unleashed