I recently got a comment from another self published author. It intrigued me, so I contacted him to see what his experience self-publishing has been like.
So, without further ado, here’s my interview with Joe Perrone Jr.
Ok, so tell me a little about yourself. Why did you decide to self publish?
After trying to find an agent for over two years, and coming very close twice, I decided that enough was enough. I’m nearly 64 years old, and felt it was now or never.
What is your newest book?
I published two novels this past winter. Escaping Innocence, which is a coming-of-age story set in the ’60s, and As the Twig is Bent, which is a mystery thriller set in New York City.
How long have your books been in print?
I published As the Twig is Bent with Lulu in September of 2008, I believe, and Escaping Innocence in October. Then, during December, I re-published them both with CreateSpace. I still maintain a storefront with Lulu, because they publish my books in hardcover.
Considering that I didn’t know the first thing about self publishing, I would say it was very user friendly. The nice thing was that I could learn by experimenting; I think I did something like 17 revisions on As the Twig is Bent.
And with CreateSpace?
It’s hard to say, because I had gained so much knowledge from working with Lulu. One thing that CreateSpace prompted me to learn was how to make PDF files. I found several sites on the web where I could convert my files to PDF files. I will say that making a cover is a heck of a lot easier with Lulu.
Which of those two POD publishers do you like better?
I would have to say CreateSpace, so far, primarily because the cost to produce a book is so very much less than Lulu that I can offer my titles at a very competitive price, and that just might make the difference between someone buying it or not–especially since I am a relative unknown commodity. Another good thing about CreateSpace is that the books get up and running on Amazon in an amazingly fast time.
What have you done to promote your books?
I originally did some paid (and unpaid) press releases with PR.com, but truthfully I don’t really think they had much impact. I contacted my local library, and arranged for a book signing, and also did another book signing at a local community center. I did a mass emailing to all my friends and relatives. Recently, I submitted my two books to a prominent newspaper in Asheville, NC, about 25 miles from my home. I haven’t heard anything yet, but if they decide to review them I will probably sign on for a 13-week ad campaign. Also, since my book signing program went so well at my local branch, I have been invited to do another one at the main branch. I also placed some books on consignment in a shop on our town’s main street, and have already sold some copies there. I also am running sponsored search ads with Yahoo. It’s very tricky, and requires a lot of trial and error, but I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.
What do you do when you set up a book signing?
I made a three-sided sign using foam board, with images of the books and one of me, along with reviews, etc. I also custom-design bookmarks for each event. They have my contact information on them and are very popular. As far as the book signing itself, I have a very interesting program that I present. First of all, I speak about the process of creating a novel, including showing all the original hand-written notebooks and subsequent computer-generated drafts. People seem to be really impressed with all the work that goes into a book. Then, I take questions from the audience, and finally I read brief excerpts and sign books.
Have you had much success with those?
I believe so. Since I am not in a major market, it’s hard to know exactly, but I sold 15 books to a crowd of about 25 people at my first signing. I believe the next one will be much better, because it’s the main branch, and many more people should attend–I hope!
What advice do you have for other authors?
Don’t give up your dream. Don’t be discouraged by rejections from agents or publishers. But, remember that the ‘squeaky wheel gets the grease,’ so make a lot of noise. It’s very hard work promoting the books, but I think it’s worth it.
Is there anything else I should have asked you?
Well, you didn’t ask if I’m currently working on a new book. The answer is: Yes! I recently began work on a new literary novel, entitled Changes. It’s about a man struck by lightning. I expect to publish it in early 2010. Last but not least, I will be appearing at a Book Fair at the Blue Ridge Community College in East Flat Rock, NC, on May 8 & 9.
Where can folks learn more about you or buy your books?
I have a website on AuthorsDen.com, and folks can also find me on MySpace.com, and Facebook.com. Also, if one goes to Amazon.com, and searches ‘books, Joe Perrone Jr.’ one will see all of my books there. Lastly, if they go to: http://stores.lulu.com/catsklgd1 they will see all my titles, and there are links there to my CreateSpace E-stores. And, if anyone wants to contact me, please do at: catsklgd1″AT”yahoo.com.
Thanks for your time!
Thanks you for interviewing me. It’s been a pleasure.