Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Self Publishing "The Bay Gull"

Our decision to self publish was based on a cheap flight to RI. In March, 2009, we got a travel e-mail about some inexpensive flights and confirmed that these rates were available for the Fourth of July.
Timing was a major factor as the Fourth of July Parade in Bristol, RI is a HUGE event, probably the biggest thing in the town for the whole year. The book starts at Bristol Bagel Works which is located on Hope Street in Bristol and the sea gull travels south through Narragansett Bay ending his journey on Block Island. If you have had the opportunity to read "The Bay Gull," you may have noticed the red, white & blue road which is how the town paints the streets for the parade route on the Fourth.
The cheap flight was a sign to us that we should launch the book during our trip back east. After booking the flight, we started looking into how to publish our own book.
Our first call was to Mona's brother-in-law who works for a marketing company in CT. He gave us some leads on printing companies who he has done business with in the past. We contacted the companies, gave them access to the book and got some printing quotes. It was important for us that the book had a perfect bind and some companies were not able to create the binding we wanted. We did contact a bindery in MA which gave us a very expensive quote on a hard bound book.
The first contacts didn't work out too well and a couple of months had already gone by so now it was early May. Our enthusiasm about self publishing was starting to diminish but a visit from some friends helped re-ignite our spark to get the job done. We shared with them our goal and they were excited to get behind the project to support us in any way.
We geared up to get busy and starting searching the internet for publishing options, plus we had a local contact through a networking event in Arizona. Ultimately, we had 4 different companies giving us quotes on the project. It took almost four weeks for us to have 4 firm quotes for the job. Premier Graphics in Arizona had a talented staff, excellent customer service, a decent price and they knew we had a deadline (which was now only about 5 weeks away) that they were able to meet.
During this time as we were working to secure a printer, there were many other steps that we were completing including licensing our company, TINK INK Publishing, purchasing ISBN numbers and creating a website for the company. In addition, we created a group on Facebook for TINK INK Publishing to get the word out that the book would be published soon.
Next we began setting up Author Appearances for our trip to RI. The first few scheduled events were with friends who owned businesses (Social Expressions, Bristol Bagel Works, Out and About Kids) and were open to helping us debut the book. We followed up on some recommendations and secured a few more spots including A Novel Idea which is next to Bristol Bagel Works and The Armchair Sailor in Newport thanks to our friend's father who works there. One event was scheduled through an e-mail connection we made with Anika Denise who is a children's author and weekly contributor to a local Newspaper. She holds a weekly storytime at a local bookshop and she graciously invited us to be a guest for the week when we were in town.
About 2 weeks before we left for the east coast, we had 7 events scheduled. Our calendar was posted on our website and Facebook plus we sent out over 60 Press Releases, several who picked up our events for their event calendars.
The rough copy of the book was available a week before the trip and after some final editing, the first 20 soft cover books were produced. Premier Graphics continued the printing and shipped the books to the east coast for us. Thankfully, they arrived the day before the first book reading!
Our journey over those few months was busy, hectic and sometimes stressful. Our "to do" list was long and this is certainly simplifying the steps. There were a few nights where we didn't get to sleep very much at all. By having a deadline, it pushed us to stay focused, getting everything done quickly so we could move on to the next thing that needed to get done.