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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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Hi everyone.
B. A. Binns here, back for a December round with the genre-ista's.

In honor of RTG's focus on self-publishing this month, I thought I would share the highlights of my 2012 journey. Two years ago I would have sworn I would never self-publish. My debut novel had been picked up by a traditional publisher. Pull was published in Nov 2010, won accolades including a National Reader's Choice award, and won spots on School Library Journal's 2011 Top Picks for Youth in Detention and YALSA's 2012 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers lists.  But sales were not what the publisher expected. I never found out their target, only that my book did not meet that target.

Still, by the end of 2011 I was still determined to stick to the traditional publishing route. My publisher was no longer accepting new manuscripts, and preparing to close up shop. My agent could not find anyone interested in my next three manuscripts because of the less than stellar sales of the first one. I began thinking about self-publishing, but still felt it was something for my far-distant future.

Then, early in 2012, by publisher declared Pull out of print, and, after some goading, returned my rights. Yet, people were still asking for the book. I received inquiries from a school who wanted copies for one of their classes, and from a Library Services Wholesaler who said they had orders, could I fullfil them.

So I became a self-publisher. For me, that meant going into things full-throttle. I chose CreateSpace as my printer and as one of my distribution channels. I do not consider them the publisher and purchased my own ISBN's to ensure the company I created, AllTheColorsOfLove, would be listed in Bowker and Books In Print as the publisher of record. When my attempt to purchase rights to the origional cover from the former publisher were ignored, I rolled up my sleeves, purchased a new photo of the same cover model to preserve continuity, and taught myself Photoshop. With a few tries (okay, lots of tries) I created my own new cover. By the end of October, I was up and running. Since then I have sold paperback copies on Amazon, eBook copies at Amazon's Kindle store and on Smashwords, sent copies to that classroom, and fulfilled three orders from the library services wholesaler I signed a contract with.  And it's only December 12.

Then I grabbed a number of short stories I had written, and bundled them together in a new book, Die Trying and other stories, used my new Photoshop skills to create a new cover, and self-published that in mid-November. Die Trying has sold on Amazon and Smashwords. Last, but certainly not least, I have a local bookstore carrying physical copies of both books, just in time for Christmas Shopping.

I couldn't forget marketing, even though I am lousy at it.
  • I put together a Facebook page for my publishing company, please LIKE me at Facebook/allthecolorsoflove. There you can find information on a contest giveaway for Die Trying on Goodreads. Three winners of autographed copies will be selected on December 20, so enter soon.
  • Being God is now in the hands of a final editor that I hired, and will be available once final changes are done. You've heard the saying, the quality goes in before...  My name will be on that book, it will be the best I can make it.
  • I have updated my website with a new page just for teachers, librarians (and any other interested parties) and access to teacher's guides  for Pull, something my old publisher promised, but never delivered on. Both the guide for Pull, and now for Die Trying, can be downloaded for free from the site.  I would love having teachers and librarians and parents give me feedback on the contents.
  • I am trying my hand at creating a newsletter. Wish me luck, I truly don't know what to say, but I want it out this month.
  • I am arranging a book tour for next spring to publicize these books. So far, that includes judging a teen writing contest in Illinois and providing a workshop for students, presenting at an RWA conference in Luisiana, conducting two workshops on Diversity and Multicultural Books at a conference in Ohio, and speaking on Reluctant Teen Readers at the American Library Association's convention in Chicago. (I'm ehausted just thinking about next year) I'm on the lookout for other locations, stops, and potential blog-hops.
My follow-up books are no longer gathering dust. In addition to the tour I am finalizing the third book, Being God. While I have ARCs printed and going out to reviewers now, the final book will not be available for sale until the end of January, 2013. I really wanted it out this year, but it's still in the hands of an editor I hired to take one last look.  As the old saying goes, the quality has to go in before...

And my name will be on that book.

It's a name I want readers to remember in a good way. Because I have already started book number four, Minority Of One.

My life grows more full every day. And I'm loving it.

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3 comments:

Diana Mcc. said...

Thanks for sharing your journey. It's good you have your books out in the market place and a fourth one on the way. Just in time for Christmas too! Good luck with your sales!

Judith Ashley said...

B.A.

Send Sarah and me your book covers for inclusion here! And, when #3 is published, let us know so we can Headline it.

Beyond our bit to help you promote, Congratulations on moving forward with your career.

Sarah Raplee said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story, B.A.! You've inspired me.

That an award-winning book as meaningful and in-demand as PULL received so little support from your traditional publisher makes me all the more grateful we are writing today, when many options are available for writers.

Kudos to you for making this happen!