Thursday, January 22, 2015

Book Publishing Secrets with Marija Bulatovic, author of Fantastical: Tales of Bears, Beer and Hemophilia

Born in Yugoslavia in the 1970s, Marija Bulatovic, along with her parents, immigrated to the U.S. in the 1990s just ahead of the 1990s Yugoslav wars and the breakup of the country.  An accomplished business professional with years of experience driving enterprise business with Fortune 500 companies, Bulatovic graduated from Colgate University. Marija Bulatovic lives in Seattle with her husband and son.

Thank you for your time in answering our questions about getting published.  Let’s begin by having you explain to us why you decided to become an author and pen this book?
Marija: While I didn’t set out to pursue career as an author, I was moved to do so after the birth of my son.  FANTASTICAL is a legacy to my son, as his birth was the catalyst for the book. 

These stories were born with my son.  Uncertain upon entering a wholly new phase of life, I sought wisdom and enlightenment – and a break from the daily routine of feedings, lack of sleep, and disorientation.  I was in search of something that would lift my spirit, make me laugh, and transport me, if only for a moment, to another, less tangible, place and time. 

While the world in which these stories unfold no longer exists, I still cling to the many lessons it taught me.  Because of my fantastical childhood, I know in my heart that life is much more than a sum of mundane survival activities.  I know that it’s fluid, magical, brimming with love and connection. 

This book was indeed the respite I needed.  It freed my mind to roam the wild landscape of a bygone era and lifted me on the wings of Balkan stardust.  I hope it will do the same for my readers.  My hope is that stories amuse and transport my readers, sustaining them on their journey as they have me on mine. 

Is this your first book?
Marija: Yes, it is.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Marija: I chose to self-publish.  FANTASTICAL is a work of passion and a very personal and dear project to me.  As such, I was interested to personally and deeply become involved in all aspects of publishing, from identifying the right experts to edit, illustrate, layout, and print the book to working with a tremendously talented publicist to bring it to light. 
At the same time, we are experiencing an explosion in tools and services suited for first time and self-publishing authors. 
I was curious about this process and it gave me an excellent opportunity to be personally engaged throughout the journey and understands all aspects of publishing. It’s been a great learning experience!
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?  The pros and cons?
Marija: Self-publishing is tremendously labor and time intensive, but also very rewarding and profitable, assuming one is able to make investments to get the book to the finish line.
The pros are that you, as an author are 100% in control of your book and the every aspect of it.  You are the final decision maker and owner of the outcomes-good and bad. It’s a wonderful opportunity to merge one’s creative talents with flawless execution.  It does require much self-discipline and hard work, but it’s also a rewarding process.  While the world of self-publishing tools and services can feel like a maze, once the author understands them, they are generally easy and efficient to you.
The cons are that you have to invest money, time and energy to personally research and identify everything that shapes the book: editors, publicists, designers, printers, distributors, etc.  This is no easy task and authors can feel discouraged by it and by the long road ahead.  The self-publish path also requires that you make personal investments or raise money to fund your book project-which done right, is not an inexpensive proposition. 
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Marija: The publishing industry overall is at an inflection point, destabilized by the explosion of self-published books and outlets offering self-publishing services.  Self-publishing houses such as CreateSpace, Lightning Source or Bookbaby offer quality services at an approachable price-point.  However, the learning curve is steep for a single author to learn, discern differences in offerings and advantages among these services, along with their complementary or duplicative nature.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Marija: Yes, most definitely.  If you feel ready and passionate about your book, you will enjoy the leanrings and the process that goes with self-publishing.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Marija: Just do it! Write your book, engage deeply with your project, commit to your work of passion and see what happens.  Most likely, more good things will happen than if you don’t embark on the journey.  And most importantly, Good Luck!

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