Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A couple of exemplary self-publishing authors

I’ve been too busy to breathe lately, let alone show off recent work, but it’s time to take a moment to applaud a couple of clients for their understanding of what it means to self-publish.
Shift: Change Your Words, Change Your World
Janet Smith Warfield came to me several months back with a partially designed, partially typeset book, after the first designer she worked with had an accident and had to shed some clients to cut back on his workload. I’ll claim partial credit on this one, as the work really wasn’t far along and there was a lot yet to do.

The book came out in June, and Janet has been assiduous in her marketing efforts, contracting with publicists, sending out timely review copies (both pre- and post-publication), reading self-publishing guides, listening to advice from experts and from a focus group she assembled herself, putting out flyers and news releases, negotiation trade distribution deals, and generally pestering as many people as possible to take a look at her excellent book.

She told me before I agreed to take her on as a client that she was going to make this book successful, and I have every reason to believe that she will. Meanwhile, she is living in Panama, building a new house there (a challenge, considering that she is learning Spanish “on the job”), and managing her virtual publishing company in the US long-distance. Takes guts!
Fixing American Healthcare: Wonkonians, Gekkonians, and the Grand Unification Theory of Healthcare
Taking a completely different approach, Rich Fogoros is not trying to sell into the bookstore trade immediately. The approach he is taking is to market his book virally, generate lots of buzz, and then pitch the already-successful book to a major trade publisher to reissue it commercially.

Dr. Fogoros is a long-time professional blogger (as “DrRich”) and already has what publishers call a platform. That is, a whole lot of people know who he is and read one or more of his blogs. He has also authored technical books in his medical field, so he is not a first-time author.

His strategy with Fixing American Healthcare was to get the book out as quickly as possible, with the hope that it might attract some attention before next year’s presidential election. With his blogs, his frequent speaking appearances, and his connections in medicine, government, politics, and the patient advocacy community, he’ll be seeding a lot of communities of interest with the book, and I think his strategy is going to do exactly what he expects it to do.

The book will be available October 1. I’m proud of what I contributed to it in terms of editing, design, and production; and I think the book has a lot to say to all Americans who are interested in helping us get out of the mess we’re in. Of course there’s a bit of mutual backscratching here. Dr. Fogoros and I developed a close working relationship, even if we come from very different parts of the political spectrum. Here’s what he said about me in the acknowledgments (you should pardon me if I kvell once in a while):
And I would especially like to thank my editor, Dick Margulis, whose astounding breadth of knowledge on diverse subjects (including healthcare, economics, religion, algebra, ethics, politics, the history of Western civilization, and pop culture from at least the 1950s), kept me honest in what I was saying; whose knowledge of good writing helped me say it much more clearly than I otherwise could have managed; and whose sense of humor kept my spirits up despite the quarts of red pixels he expended (each drop of which might otherwise have been as painful as if it had been my own blood).
Okay, I’ll stop now.

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