Name: M. J. Joseph
Book Title: The Lübecker
Publisher: Peppertree Press
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?
Is this your first book?
Author: This is the first book I’ve chosen to publish. I’ve really never been motivated to share my work with the public, but, answering the question, posed by a few friends, “What have you been doing with yourself, lately?” forced their next question, “When may I read it?” and later, “You should have this book published!” prompted me to offer the book for publication.
With this particular book, how did you publish – traditional, small press, Indie, etc. – and why did you choose this method?
Author: One cannot simply “have this book published”. I offered the book to a few traditional publishing houses and literary agents and received some encouragement, but no commitments. With that, I lost interest in pursuing the matter further and decided to simply have a few more copies of the manuscript printed at a local office supply store to give to my children and some friends in Europe. Finally, the continuing encouragement from my small group of readers revived my interest in publishing and I began exploring opportunities that could offer some of the advantages of traditional publishing, with the provision that I pay the associated costs. Since it was not necessary that I realize significant income from publishing The Lübecker, and I had the means to pursue this method, I settled upon a small press that would review the book and decide if it would worth putting into their list.
Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey? The pros and cons?
Author: I have no interest in pursuing traditional publishing in the future. Traditional publishing may pursue me, however. Even if my work would prove acceptable to a major publishing house, I’m not certain that the guarantees that I would demand would encourage an agreement.
I would, however, suggest to anyone wishing to pursue an approach to publishing similar to mine, to begin by contacting individuals working in ancillary professions to the independent publishing industry for advice. Speak with several experienced publicists, owners of printing companies and owners of independent bookstores before committing to a publisher. These professionals love their work, are generally very approachable and know that successful authors enhance their own success.
What lessons do you feel you learned about your particular publishing journey and about the publishing industry as a whole?
Author: I learned that an author should engage an attorney specializing in contract negotiation and litigation to review any contract offered by a publisher, being particularly careful with the numerous timelines that are generated by the process of getting a book to market. The attorney should send correspondence declaring their review of the proposed contract, and any questions they may have, to the publisher. Stipulate that the publisher shall facilitate on behalf of the author the freedom to work directly with an editor, graphics professional and printer. In this scenario, after all, the author bears the expense.
Would you recommend this method of publishing to other authors?
Author: This method of publishing may be appropriate for the author possessing sufficient financial resources to pursue the process. There are other ways to publish a book, depending on the author’s expectations. I am not inclined to encourage anyone to submit their work to agents and editors working within the constraints of traditional publishing, given my experience, but I recognize that for thousands of authors, traditional publishing is still viable.
What’s the best advice you can give to aspiring authors?
Author: Write your book, submit your book to someone capable of copy editing your book and only then consider publishing opportunities.