Eggceptional…But Worth The Price?
One of the comments on my last post had to do with the eggs I purchased from the farmer’s market on Saturday. The ones that cost me $6.00 for a dozen. This blogger asked if they were really worth the price, which was funny, because not more than an hour earlier my mom was wondering the same thing (though she took things a step further and berated me for paying so much for eggs, when she just bought them for $1.19 at WinCo…I know, I know, you can find them a hell of a lot cheaper, but I was curious and always wanted to try farm fresh eggs and, by the way, mothers never stop mothering, even when their children are slightly north of 40, do they?).
First off, I have to say, the eggs were delicious. I cooked them over-medium and served them with bacon and toast. I thought the yolks were big and creamy and a beautiful golden color. When I told my dad they were the best eggs I’d ever had, he wondered if I wasn’t just swayed by the perceived quality of the eggs, not to mention the high price I had paid, and suggested a blind taste test might be in order. I’ll admit that he could be right, and that’s not a bad idea. I think we’ll try that one day soon.
Are they worth $6.00, though? It’s hard to believe a dozen eggs would ever be worth six bucks, to be honest. But then I started thinking about economies of scale and how that translates to fifty cents apiece; the breakfast I had yesterday probably cost me $4.00 but would have run double that in a restaurant, and I have to wonder. Maybe it isn’t such a bad price after all, when you look at the big picture.
I’d have a more convincing argument if I weren’t unemployed, of course.
Dreams Do Come True. Even if You Have to Pay for Them.
When I began this blog, my goal was to chronicle my journey from cubicle-dwelling aspiring novelist to published author. Along the way, some things changed – like, well, the cubicle disappeared, for instance – and I branched out to talk about a wide variety of topics. I like it that way; being able to write about whatever I feel like is liberating. My overall dream, of course, never changed. I always said I’d one day become a published author, or die trying.
A dozen years ago, when I decided to take a serious stab at writing novels, I balked at the notion of self-publishing. It didn’t feel legitimate, I thought, and screamed “vanity project!” more than anything else. I wanted to get published the real way, and went about my due diligence through traditional channels, crafting query letters and sending them off to dozens of literary agents. For every request to see material I had to wade through fifteen or twenty rejections. It’s frustrating to not have anybody even want to read a chapter or two of your work, but that’s the nature of the business. The marketplace is full of agents and publishers who deal with hundreds of queries, proposals and unsolicited manuscripts a week. Breaking through is next to impossible.
Over the past few years, however, the industry has changed. Even many established authors are self-publishing their books and bypassing the traditional publishing houses – it’s the best way to maintain creative control over their visions, I suppose. Self-publishing doesn’t carry the same stigma it did even five years ago, and there are success stories out there, people who have sold a ton of books on their own and then been picked up by a big-name publishing house. Granted, this is the exception to the rule, but it can – and does – happen. Social networking provides authors with so many unique and far-reaching marketing channels that, with a lot of hard work, you can really get your book out there…and hopefully noticed.
Plus, with the rise of POD (Print On Demand) publishers, the expense has gone down drastically. You no longer have to buy a hundred copies of your book and try to sell them; the publishing company will, instead, print each book on demand, as it is ordered. This keeps everybody’s costs down, and makes the whole process affordable.
So, when I secured funds for my life-changing road trip last month, I also put enough aside to self-publish my book. I have been waiting for years to have my book published, and this would be the culmination of all of my hard work and determined effort. It would be a dream come true! Albeit, a dream I was paying to have come true, but at this point – who cares about the how’s.
I’m going to be a published author!
Six Weeks To Immortality
The first step was finding the right company. There are a lot of big names out there – Lulu, Xlibris, AuthorHouse, iUniverse and Amazon’s CreateSpace, to name a few – but I chose a smaller outfit called Booklocker. Why? Not only do they offer competitive pricing and receive high satisfaction ratings, but they have standards: contrary to the practices of many companies, they look for quality books with potential, and don’t publish just anybody’s. They have to approve your manuscript first. They are essentially a mom ‘n pop outfit (something that appeals to my anti-corporate sensibilities) but offer all the same perks as the other guys: 35% royalty on book sales, your own ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and barcode, distribution through Amazon and Ingram, e-book options, cover design services, etc. Last week, I uploaded my manuscript, and nervously awaited their response. I’m so used to rejection, I think I expected it. Finally, they replied.
While I don’t have time to read entire manuscripts, we do have a specific formula for reviewing them. Basically, if we start reading and want to keep reading, that’s great. We also look for errors and try to determine if we feel there is a market for the book.
Your book has been accepted for publication by Booklocker.
Give yourself a pat on the back. We reject the vast majority of incoming proposals. (You would not BELIEVE some of the stuff we see…and, sadly, our competitors are putting this low-quality material on the market).
Welcome to the family! We’re very happy to have you!!
I was ecstatic upon reading that! I have waited so long for this to happen that, even though I’m paying for it, it still feels like a WIN!
The past few days have been an exciting blur. I’m already marketing my novel – I created a Facebook fan page for No Time For Kings. Feel free to click here and “like” it – I’m posting daily updates on the progress of my novel and sharing fun things like character backgrounds, cover proposals, etc. My friends have spread the word to their friends, and I’m conversing with people I don’t even know, trying to build “buzz.” I’ve always been pretty good at this marketing stuff, and I’m off to a solid start!
I also formatted my novel, going through it once more for any last-minute changes; signed the contract; uploaded the files; created a dedication and an “About The Author” blurb; and, most exciting of all, am working one-on-one with a graphics designer to come up with an original cover. I talked with him today about the ideas I have – dark and brooding, incorporating the environmental/terrorist themes, suggested color schemes, even a few possible images. I can’t wait to see what Todd comes up with! I’ll own the cover artwork when it’s complete, as I’m “buying” it as part of the contract. Oh, and I came up with a tagline that I like, too. Saving The Earth is Bloody Business. It fits.
My friends are being amazingly supportive, and my kids have jumped on board, too. Rusty even designed a promotional poster using a photo of Mount Rushmore I took just a few weeks ago. It’s related to a pivotal scene in the book, and I think it turned out fantastic. Audrey, meanwhile, has decided she’d like to become a writer too, and is working on a book of her own. I’m proud of them both.
This is all very exciting, and I plan to update progress here on my blog, of course. In just six short weeks, my book will be available for sale. I can hardly believe it!