In 2004 through 2008, during and after writing The Fox, I had dreams of a big publishing house picking it up and having it reach at least the top half of the New York Times best seller list. Don’t we all? Well, after a friend and I attended the 22nd Southern California Writer’s conference in San Diego, Feb. 2008, my hopes and dreams changed.
The first reason was this: Just before I finished my book, I took a long walk through my local Border’s; I imagined I saw my book sitting–right there. But reality set in and as I looked around, I wondered how on earth a person walking through that huge store would be able to find my book! All the other books in the store overwhelmed even the books that were best sellers.
The second reason was a writers’ conference I attended after writing The Fox.
We were told if an agent or publisher chooses your book, you probably would have to spend money to hire an editor and/or a publicist. The publishing houses barely get the books of unknown authors into stores and Amazon.com. Selling them is all up to you. If you want to sell more than the ten you would sell to your family and friends, (remember Borders) then you have to work at it ceaselessly. This works well if you are retired or independently wealthy.
The big publishing houses are in trouble. They can’t give out big advances to new fiction authors because they don’t usually make their money back and don’t spend money on marketing.
Comments by agents and publishers on the last panel:
“There will be books as long as there is paper.”
“We will be here as long as you writer’s do your work. Write the best books you can, do your homework and buy books! Paperback book sales are declining.”
“Send your query in with a full marketing plan, or I probably won’t accept you.”
And so I decided to give my novel away as an ebook. I wanted it read. I have not been sorry at all.
I had seen the surge in digital technology, the Kindle, Apple products and more and at the time of the conference, I knew it was the way of the future. I heard some say, “I love to sit and hold a book in my hand!” but you can put a good leather cover on the Kindle and sit by the fire with a glass of wine and read many books, newspapers, and magazines without putting one down to find the other. They are all right in your hands. iPods can download podcasts for our audible pleasure and I am admitting here and now, that I rarely buy paper books anymore. I have listened to many recorded/podcasted books from Podiobooks.com. Having traveled with a suitcase full of books in the past I now carry many in my iPad.
I created a website and loaded a PDF of my book there first. In the first few months, a few more sites picked up and were accepting authors loading books to offer around the world. One has offered free ebooks all along while others charge. Even though I could have charged I decided not to. I recorded it as a podcast for free.
My husband talked me into a paperback. I went to what is now, Create Space and was very happy. It is on Amazon as a paperback (there is a charge for this as it is a Print On Demand), and also in the Kindle store for free.
I am very happy I went this way. I have had hundreds of reviews and emails telling me how readers enjoyed and even how important The Fox was to them.
As of October 1, 2013, I have had a total of 130,000 downloads of The Fox. Really! One site has 25,800 today – http://www.free-ebooks.net/ebook/The-Fox It was this site that took The Fox into Iran, where a professor read it and asked me if he could translate it and distribute it in Iran. Of course, yes!
Kindle reports that I have had over 73,000 downloads from them and I have it on various other sites.
My next book is almost completed. Today I have a choice of free, or many indie publishers. I have yet to decide.
I am very happy with what I have done and all the people who I have been able to touch with my story, The Fox. I would do it again, in a heartbeat.
About Arlene Radasky
A scholar of ancient history, Arlene Radasky is fortunate to have walked upon each of the seven continents on the earth. For the past two decades she has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations including the American Red Cross and Hospice of Santa Barbara. She currently lives in California and is a proud mother and grandmother. The Fox is her first novel.Paperback Purchase Link: Amazon