Chapter Book for Middle Grade

by Andy Weisskoff
(Sebastopol, CA)

Glass Palace

Glass Palace

It's all changing, right before our eyes.

In February, 2012, I self-published a chapter book for middle grade children called Glass Palace.

Everything I read prior indicated there was no compelling reason not to do it all myself. And, I read, there's less and less incentive to use a traditional publishing house - the biggest disincentive being the tiny number of publishers and agents accepting new work.

I made the book available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble, because they're the largest markets for e-books. It was helpful that I had entered the book in a contest just as the contest reached its annual deadline. Weeks later, praise the gods, it was announced a finalist. So I could include that in the advertisements on Amazon and B&N.

Following publication, there have been many surprises. What surprises me most is that I may not need to go much further than the e-book form for the book to be successful.

I had assumed that a book designed for ten to twelve-year-olds would have to be published on paper to be read. I'm finding that more and more kids, and at younger ages, are reading on Kindles, Nooks, iPads, and even their phones. My local kid readers actually prefer reading this way.

My next "move" is to print up paper copies - through Amazon, perhaps - and get them in the hands of people who believe in bibliotherapy (healing through reading). Because the book is about a girl recovering from the death of her parents, I'll be getting copies to grief counselors, for starters.

Yes, hand-delivered. If I'm reading Amazon's literature correctly, that would cost about $3 a copy.

I've adopted the attitude that every effort on my part to promote the book will move it forward or, at worst, be neutral. And any time I need to take a break from promotion, that's OK. After all, once it's out, it's out.

When you self-publish, you don't need to worry about keeping sales up in order to stay in "print." If you don't self-promote, the book merely sits in cyberspace awaiting activation.

Good material may not rise to the top completely on its own, but it's OK to create strategies as we go. We shouldn't be scared off by the messages, directed at authors hoping to traditionally publish, about having a platform and a plan in place. With self-publishing there's (virtually) no financial risk, so...

Get your book done. Get it up and running. And wing it!

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Apr 27, 2013
by: Steve B. (webmaster)

Andy, thanks for an excellent post!

You know, when you spoke of it being okay to take a break from marketing, you got me thinking.

With traditional publishing, there's definitely a window of opportunity, and it may be narrow. Your publisher may not keep the book in print for long, and they're definitely not going to promote it for long.

But with self-publishing, it's just you! If you have a book with evergreen content - and you do; people will always be dying - then it makes sense to keep working the marketing...forever. As long as you're getting results, why stop?

Create webpages that will always stay up, and get the word out in ways that can be sustained. It sounds like that's what you're doing!

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