Friday, July 6, 2012

GUEST BLOGGER: Richard Brawer

What should you do if you cannot find a publisher for a book you poured your heart and soul into and thought was a wonderful book?  Why not self publish?

Before e-books the only books we could read were the ones the big publishers “chose” for us to read.  Those books were selected by the publisher based on the publisher’s idea of what the greatest number of readers would like.  Today those “mavens” in the publishing business are becoming more and more irrelevant.

I was born in Paterson, New Jersey but moved away at the age of twelve.   One day I read an article about lectures and historical tours being held in Paterson, America’s first industrial city and the home of the silk industry in the nineteenth and early twentieth century.  I thought it would be interesting to learn about the city where I had spent such a short time.

After the lectures my imagination started taking over and I thought, wouldn’t it be interesting to set a novel in the hey-day of the silk industry.  Thus Silk Legacy was born.

In early twentieth century Paterson, NJ, where silk magnates rule the city with an iron fist and treat their immigrant laborers as an expendable commodity in their insatiable quest for wealth, a domineering silk industrialist clashes with his progressive suffragist wife and his radical unionist brother as he battles to save his business and keep his family from being torn apart during The Great Silk Strike of 1913 in Paterson, New Jersey.

Jealousy, infidelity, arrogance, greed—the characters’ titanic struggles will catapult you into the heights of their euphoria and the depths of their despair.  Who will triumph and who will be humbled is not certain until the last page.

To this day I don’t know why I couldn’t find an agent or publisher for Silk Legacy.  I had read a lot of historical fiction and I knew this was a good book.  Thus, since I was sixty-five, I didn’t want to wait any longer to get the book in print. So I self published it.

As you can see from my web site,,  reviewers have said about Silk Legacy: “Magnificent Characters” “Remarkable Storytelling” “A Tribulation of Yesteryear” “Vivid Enticing Characters” “An Absorbing Page Turner of a Novel” “Realistic Dialogue” “The fictional family is made up of flesh-and-blood characters. They laugh, love, argue, fight, and have adulterous affairs” “A Tumultuous Love Story”  “An Epic Family Saga”
A number of things you must realize about self publishing: (1) You must pay to have the book edited.  (2)  If you are not artistically inclined, you will have to have the cover designed.  (3) You have to do 100% of the selling yourself, but you will have to do that even if you are published by a major New York publisher or a small independent publisher.

What about promotion?  How do you do it?
Unlike a product in a store where you can touch it, see it and try it on, readers only get a taste of books from blurbs, excerpts and reviews, and they are getting more and more savvy about the value of those smidgens.  Many are reluctant to take a chance on an unknown author at $15.00 for a trade paperback to $26.00 for a hard cover.
Enter the e-book for 99 cents to $4.99 as well as many free books.  The amount of time to promote an e-book is the same as for a print book, but it’s far easier to get a reader to take a chance on a new author at these lower prices.

I have sold the most books after reviews and interviews on a blog such as Patty’s.  Also, there are many interactive sites on the internet where you can join the discussions.  Like all advertising, repetition is the key.  Keep your name in front of readers by participating in those discussions.  Sooner or later people will say, let me try one of his/her books.
Be cautious about paying for promotion.  There are many sites that charge to promote books.  Some work, some don’t.  Before you spend money to promote your book, join Yahoo and
Facebook author sites.  Ask the authors their experience with the site you are considering paying to advertise your book.

Self publishing can be rewarding if you are HONEST with yourself.  If you feel you have a good book and a marketing plan to sell the book, go for it. Don’t let the “mavens” in the publishing trade discourage you.  And now with the rapid growth of e-readers like Kindle and Nook, you have fabulous venues to sell you book.

Richard Brawer lives in NJ with his wife, Ruth.  He is the author of six books, four of which he self published.  His latest novel, Keiretsu, will be out the end of September.  Read about all Richard’s books at:

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