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Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in

A mold of Al Pacino’s face from the Godfather III. Photo (2013). Pollack man34. Creative Commons. Wikimedia Commons.

Remember when Michael Corleone uttered those words in Godfather III?

Aren’t there times when you feel the same way? Every year when you look back and think, “Next year can’t get any crazier than the one I just went through” and then it does—they pull you back in.

Never in my wildest dreams did I know what I was getting into when I began writing the non-fiction book proposal in April 2012 for my walking tour book on the French Revolution. Now here we are, the first two books (Where Did They Put the Guillotine? —Volumes One and Two) have been published in 2014. The third book, Where Did They Burn the Last Grandmaster of the Knights Templar? —A Walking Tour of Medieval Paris, will be published in March 2015 while the fourth book, Where Did They Put the Gestapo Headquarters? will be published in December 2015.

What I really didn’t comprehend at the time was the complexity of taking on all of the publishing components. It has been quite a journey and one that I’m glad I took. I’m not done yet. Now that we have product, we’re entering into the fourth and fifth component of publishing: the distribution and marketing/public relations. Like the music industry, the distribution component is the one that the traditional publishing industry is having a hard time getting its arms around.

Everything’s a process…

The first thing I learned in the process of the book proposal was to go out and determine whether an audience exists for your book. In other words, why write a book if there’s no one out there to buy it? Well, we’ve found out there is an audience as book sales through Amazon have been good. Now I’m trying to figure out other methods of distribution. We’re now in 3 bookstores: two in Punta Gorda, Florida and one in Franklin, Tennessee.

In one of my prior blog posts, I told you the secret for making money as an author. Well, there is another secret you must know. The author must calculate the breakeven point for their book. In other words, the calculation will tell you how many books must be sold to recoup the costs of producing the book. Once you do the arithmetic, you will be shocked. It is a number that will help you make decisions about the distribution channels you will consider using. In my case, the break even number on my first book is very high. While getting speaking engagements and selling books in independent retail bookstores is fine, with a high breakeven number the author must look at more traditional distribution methods.

So now that the first two walking tour books are finished and available, I have experienced all 5 components of the publishing process. What happens next? Well that will be answered in my blog on January 4, 2015 when I talk about the goals and expectations I have for the New Year.

Let’s just say I’m getting pulled back in and next year is looking crazier than the one I just went through.

I hope you and your family have a Happy New Year and you will achieve your goals and expectations for 2015.

Do we have a lot of stories? Of course we do. I’m looking forward to sharing these with you. Please continue to visit our newsletter and blog. Perhaps you’d like to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on the most recent newsletter and blog posts.

Thanks so much for following my newsletter and blogs as well as my little journey through this incredibly interesting process of writing a series of niche walking tour books based on European historical periods or events.

– Stew

Please note that I do not and will not take compensation from individuals or companies I mention or promote in my blog.  

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Copyright © 2014 Stew Ross

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