You already know that there are a few ways to get a book into print:
- Secure an agent and a major publishing contract
- Secure an independent/small house publishing contract
- Become a true ‘”self-publisher”
- Pay a publish on demand company (which often erroneously refer to themselves as self-publishers)
- Set up with a print on demand company
Your publishing direction depends on many factors, but these are probably the most important:
- Your goals
- The strength of your platform
- Available time and money
Just as a quiet aside: The quality of your content is important for any publishing outlet. Why would you want to put something out there for all to see if it contains errors?
So after about a year, Brad and I had eliminated the possibility of finding an agent, and through that agent a major contract, simply because of his lack of a platform. The agent friends and book packager I spoke with pretty much told me that with a drug-addiction memoir, a very popular genre right now, platform is king. We had re-framed the story as a feature article and targeted mainstream publications with a query/proposal with no success.
As I researched data and statistics for a book proposal–something we pursued for a short time during that first year, stalling at the Promotions page– my understanding of the oxy abuse epidemic grew, and of course, my empathy for Brad and his family grew as well. I found out things like this:
- In 1995, Oxycodone entered the American market as a prescription for chronic pain. In 2008, half a million people used Oxy for non medical purposes for the first time. In 2009, one in ten high school seniors abused narcotic painkillers.
- In 2006, 6% of clients treated at Aegis Treatment Centers were under 28 years old. In the first six months of 2010, 34% are under 28 years old. The CEO attributes it to Oxycontin use.
- Federal drug related arrests for Oxycodone numbered 27 in 2003, and for just the first 6-months of 2008 the number of arrests was 284.
- In the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, Feb 5, 2009 Report, 670,000 youths and 1.5 million young adults self-reported they had used pain relievers non-medically in the past month.
This information became part of the book proposal. Why is this book needed? But, unfortunately, just being needed, having a Market section, does not a complete book proposal make. He still had no platform.
We had to redefine Brad’s goals. Let’s get the word out about oxy addiction, and how even if you are a parent who has a fairly large level of experience with illicit drugs, you may be unprepared to deal with your child’s use.
When Amazon announced their DTP–now renamed, I thought that it seemed to be a good fit. A short book, only about 40,000 words, would be really great on a Kindle and perfect for a digital text platform. Brad agreed. But he would still need to sell it.
He’d need a blog and a website; he’d need a way to create a platform: score numbers of people who register to receive updates on his son Brandon’s recovery, information about how to receive help, etc. And he needed to get some publicity for it.
Brad decided there were many things he could do with this website, including creating a fund that will help families with addicted children receive the real recovery strategies they need to stay off the junk, and hosting a forum for addicts and families of prescription drug addicts.
Brad hired me to do a developmental edit of his book for the Kindle platform.
He hired a web designer to get that up and running. He called up the local indie press and offered an awesome story.
Seeking Representation… or not. Whichever; it’s all good.
Now it’s all falling into place, and it feels just right.