Edmond P. DeRousse

“Get it published!”  Sending your work off!   

(A Google search is how I got started)

My first book, The Adventures of a Common Man, was released Jan 2010.  Since then, I have published several books (8 at this point). I have had many positive adventures and some not so positive. I have learned much about the ever-changing publishing business. Because I still enjoy writing and sharing what I write, my publishing goals are frequently modified. 

Making the decision to seek publication of my first book was stressful. I had spent over a year writing it. By October 2008 I decided to share what I wrote with my siblings and present it as a Christmas gift that year. I designed a cover and took my manuscript on a thumb drive to a local print shop. (It was a FedEx store.). 

They offered several book shapes and binder designs. What size would the book be? What type of binder would it have (string, staple, glued, etc.) I wanted it to look like a book, not just a bunch of papers stapled together. I was happy with the final product and eager to send my special gift off to the siblings. 

The print shop did not provide a copyright. That would be up to me to get, if I wanted one. I knew very little about copyrights and it did not really matter to me anyway. I only wanted something to give my siblings. That book was based on family history, and I was not sure if I wanted the words I wrote to go beyond the family.   

This is what my siblings received that year for Christmas: 

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The decision to send my manuscript to a publishing company had not yet been made. I thought if my siblings liked it and they gave me honest feedback, I would give serious thought to getting it actually published. But trying to get published also meant I would be possibly setting myself up for disappointment/rejection. So, I had to be strongly convinced

The feedback was positive. Each sibling convinced me that their assessment was honest. They all liked it and encouraged me to “Get it published!”. 

There are a couple of thoughts about when to send your work to the publisher. Many suggest doing a few chapters then send it to the publishers. That way they will get an idea of your work. The intent is to finish your work after acceptance. However, life sometimes gets in the way. Something could happen that prevents you from spending needed time on writing. For example, you could experience family illness, personal injury, lack of motivation, etc.  For any of those reasons my preference is to wait until the work is completed, including your own editing before sending it to the publisher. My book was already completed and edited to the best of my ability.

By January 2009 I began my search for a publisher. But I did not personally know a single writer or author other than newspaper people. Once the decision was made to attempt getting published, I had no clue how to do it. The only tools I knew I had available to me were the computer and a phone. Computer skills were limited. I could turn it on, use the “works” program, use my e-mail, and search around on the internet. That was basically the extent of my knowledge. 

I had one more thing. The ‘URL”. You know that white blank spot at the top of any search engine page. I figured I could type something in it and see what happens. Knowing I was not a famous author, and believing I would not be published by one of their publishers, I typed “self publishing” in that blank spot.

Literally, pages and pages of opportunities popped up. I decided I would not use opportunities that would include the publication of certain types of books (porn, anti-Christian, etc.), which restricted my search parameters.  After eliminating those I felt would not work for me, I researched, in depth, a few I felt would. I settled on two and sent my manuscript to them. They both offered me a contract. I had to decide which company would publish my masterpiece. 

“WOW!  I must be really good!” I thought. 

In reality, that statement was not completely accurate. I am a good writer, but that is not necessarily the reason I got published the first time. I have since learned that there are different levels or meanings assigned to the word “Published”. Being a talented writer is not necessarily a requirement for being published. There are scammers out there who will take money from untalented writers, print exactly what they wrote, (incomplete sentences, misspelled words, etc., and pat them on the back for being good writers.

One company sent me via the mail a contract and a letter explaining their offer. My book was a humorous fictional account of family life and their adventures. They offered me a contract to publish my “medical journal”.  I had not written a medical journal. I guess because I mentioned in the Preface that the protagonist was using the book as therapy, they thought I wrote a medical journal. At first, I laughed it off. Then reality set in. They obviously liked the title and the word “therapy”. But I did not write a journal. (I am not convinced that they even read it.) I wrote family friendly fiction humor. I had to reject them. “Bummer!”

A couple days later, on my birthday, I answered a phone call from a publishing company. We talked for over an hour. My interviewer explained why he liked the book, described his favorite chapter, and appreciated the humor in it. We discussed the editing, publishing, and marketing process. I felt competent that he understood what I was trying to do with my masterpiece. I asked him to send me a contract. I signed it and published and marketed two books with them.


The first company is still in business. The company I signed with is no longer. As I said, I have learned much since those first two books.    More about this in a later BLOG.

While promoting those books, I discovered that many people had written things and wanted, like me, to share them with the world. Their problem was that they either did not know how to proceed or had been unsuccessful in their attempt. Being able to share the written word with those outside the family and friends is, of course, very difficult. 

Often, I was asked, what was my inspiration for writing? What made me decide to publish? How did I accomplish such a feat? Sometimes someone would ask me what my plans where with my book now that I was published.

I had given no real thought to those questions, nor was I prepared to talk about them at my early book signing events. My only thought was to sell books, make money, and take in the praise from all my adoring fans. I had put in a great deal of effort to write the book I knew everyone wanted and get it published. After all I was a “PUBLISHED AUTHOR”. 

Eventually, I developed a course for local community colleges about the writing and publishing process. Its purpose was to answer those questions I was asked at book signings and public speaking events. I was an educator by trade, so that seemed like a logical step for me. I taught that course for three years in a half a dozen colleges. It was a good source of income and also a good way to promote my brand. 

I am a self-published author. If you talk to authors, you will find those committed to self-publishing and those who only believe in traditional publishing. There are several different kinds of publishing. In my next publishing BLOG, I will discuss the difference between them.

          As I see it.

 
Edmond P. DeRousse, Author


Common

      Man                                                   

               Adventures

 You Don’t Have To Be Rich And Famous To Have Adventures