As I head into my first full year of blogging, I have learned a
But perhaps the most important lesson is that bloggers are
people too. We have dreams. We get our feelings hurt when people
leave snarky comments. And we all secretly hope that some big shot
editor from New York will discover our untapped genius and offer a
six figure book deal without question.
Why, yes. Bloggers can be a little delusional as well. I blame
So today I'm interviewing fellow blogger (Mothers of Brothers Blog) and newly-published
author, Julie R. Harrison. Her debut book, "Mom's Had a Rough Day,"
can be found on Amazon.com and she graciously agreed to detail
her adventures in publishing for Chicago Parent.
You self-published. Why?
I initially tried the route of working with traditional
publishers. However, they refuse writing submitted by individuals;
they want you to use an agent. No agent would talk to me-I kept
running into a brick wall. After six months of rejection, I decided
to do it myself.
What was your biggest obstacle?
Money. I thought it would be insanely expensive to self-publish.
It was much more reasonable than I expected.
Let's talk money then. What did it cost?
Prices vary by company, but I used Create Space for the sole
reason that it's a division of Amazon, so the book is sold on
Amazon, using a print-on-demand service. Upfront, I paid $750. That
included my ISBN number (the book's unique identifying number so it
can be sold), cover design (which I love), and a few rounds of
minor changes. That fee does NOT include any professional editing
services, which would add another $1,000 to the cost.
(*Author's note: To hire an artist to illustrate a children's
book can cost around $5,000.)
How long did it take?
I started the process late summer (all the content was fully
written at this point) with a personal goal of having it available
for sale by Christmas. Amazon had it listed the day after
Were you pleased with the service?
Absolutely. They held my hand every step of the way and were
incredibly helpful. They were also spot-on for their timelines.
What have you done as far as marketing?
That's the biggest difference between having an agent and big
publishing house in your corner. I must do 100 percent of the
marketing myself. Create Space does offer minimal promotions (press
releases, etc.) but that would increase the cost by another $600.
So far, I have promoted the book on my blog, had a book signing
event at a local bookstore, and am currently submitting my book to
various magazine editors (Real Simple, People, etc.) for review. I
still need to do more!
What drove you to write this particular
I wrote the book that I would want to read. It's a humor book
based on my experiences as a mother. A lot of books by parents tend
to be preachy; my book is just the opposite. It's composed of short
essays that you can read in 10 minutes while waiting in the carpool
Have you made back your initial investment? Is your book
Any final words of advice for those looking to
Go for it! It gives me a huge sense of accomplishment to hold
the actual book in my hands and know people can buy it and read my
words. Many authors who self-published went on to become quite
famous, for example John Grisham, Gertrude Stein, Mark Twain, Henry
David Thoreau, and Benjamin Franklin, so you're in good
Marianne is mother of three sons and the wife of a southside Irish fireman. She has learned that sometimes you're just too dumb to know what makes you happy. She blogs regularly at We Band of Mothers (webandofmothers.com) and curses with even greater frequency. Her material is written for the imperfect, the imprudent, and the impatient mothers who know that all this stuff is really very funny if you just give it a minute.
See more of Marianne's stories here.
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