by J. Frank James
This is a question that has no simple answer. After publishing my tenth book, the answer that best fits my situation is simply it lets me control my future as a writer. By that I mean, I am the master of my own fate. I am not sure everyone would agree with me and there are a lot of environments that do not accept a self-published manuscript from a promotion standpoint, but trust me, it is the future.
If writer is looking for instant cash, it is going to happen regardless of what you are going to do in the way of publishing. However, if you want to get the real experience of writing and see it in print, then by all means self-publish.
Is self-publishing for everyone? No. The publishing houses still have the edge in promoting a book, but that is not going to last long. Amazon is the five hundred pound gorilla and they will only get larger. Eventually, they will larger than all the other publishing vehicles combined. That said, you might as well get on board.
So what is the future of self-publishing? Quite simply, the sky is the limit. Today, you can produce your own cover, produce the written copy, market you product as writer and generally go direct to your reader. As a preparation, there are several things that I would recommend. One, get a good website for yourself. There are a lot of web providers who will provide formats to get this accomplished. One that I would recommend is a company called Powweb, www.powweb.com. Powweb has a product called Weebly. There you will have access to templates that will allow you to build your site and control the content without a whole lot of trouble. If I can do it, anyone can. Next, there is the marketing. Make sure you put your book on Amazon’s Kindle Select program as well as their Createspace unit. Kindle Select is Amazon’s ebook format and Creatspace is the paperback product. The good thing about these services is that they allow you to self-market your book as well as track sales and so forth. It is a no brainer.
After you have muscled your way through this process, we yourself a good proofreader. Make sure they have experience in the genre in which you write your book. A proofreader who proofs technical journals is not someone you want to proofread fiction. Trust me. I have been there and done that. Next get a publicist. Now here this election can get tricky. Don’t over pay for the service, but don’t get taken to the cleaners either. Expect to pay on average around $1,000 per month. Some will want more during the first three months of the exercise. They do this because to properly promote a book from the initial stage there are is a lot of upfront effort necessary to get things off the ground.Well, you are now ready to put your first book out there for the world to see. What’s next? Why the next book, of course.
Excerpt from Dead Money Run
The warden was a small man, but dressed neatly. Everything about him was neat-from his hair to his shoes. He was almost too neat.
“So what are your plans, Lou?”
When I walked into the room, the warden turned over a little hour-glass full of sand. We both watched it for a few seconds and then looked at each other. This was the first time I ever met the man. What did he care about me now? Since he never cared before, I figured the man was just looking for information. Perhaps he wanted to give me a warning. I didn’t say anything.
“Do you ever think about time, Lou?”
“After fifteen years, what do you think?” I said.
He smiled and said, “Most valuable thing we have and no one seems to mourn its passing until it’s too late.”
I had nothing to say to that. Conversations with a prison warden came with a lot of maybes. While in prison I trained myself to watch a man’s hands. If he rubbed his hands in a washing motion, he was lying. If he messed with his fingernails, he wasn’t interested in the conversation. The warden was rubbing his hands as if he had touched something distasteful.
“I haven’t given it a lot of thought, Warden Edwards.”
“Call me John, Lou. We’re friends now,” Edwards said while rubbing his hands in a determined kind of way.
So now we were friends. I wanted to tell him he was a liar, but my better judgment stopped me. Probably a good way to delay my release-things get lost, papers go unsigned. Things happen.
“Okay, John,” I said.
“You know, we never found the fifteen million,” he said.
“I didn’t know you were looking for it.”
I watched his eyes flicker briefly. I seemed to hit a sweet spot.
“No, Lou. You misunderstand,” he said as he caught himself. “There is a reward for the recovery of the money. Did you know that?”
Edwards said it more as a statement than a question. I said nothing and waited. Edwards shifted in his chair and started to rub his hands again.
“It would be in your best interest to tell them what you know.”
“Who’s the ‘them’ John?” I asked.
“They’re the people looking for the money.”
I thought about that for a few moments. The statement covered a lot of ground.
“Since I didn’t take the money in the first place, I don’t have anything to tell them. They need to ask the people that took it,” I said.
Edwards was smiling now and he stopped rubbing his hands.
“There are some people that think you do.”
“I can’t help what people think.”
“Ten percent,” he said.
“Ten percent of what,” I said.
“The money, Lou. Ten percent of fifteen million is a lot of money.”
“I hadn’t heard about that,” I said.
“Yeah, it seems the Indian casino had insurance. The insurance company that paid off on the claim put up a ten percent reward for the return of the money. A million five is a lot of money.”
“I hope they find it,” I said.
Edwards blinked his eyes signaling he was moving on to something else.
“Sorry to hear about your sister,” he said. “I understand they are doing all they can to find her killer.”
Edwards was a real card and running out of things to say. On any other day, in any other place, he would be dead or wishing he was.
“Thanks, John. Your words are real comforting,” I said and returned my gaze to the little hourglass and the sand as it accumulated on the bottom.
I had nothing else to say except make him happy. Make them all happy. Just one big happy group sitting around smiling at each other; happy, happy, now let’s just get the money and spread it all around and we can go on being happy. In the meantime my sister lies in a hole feeding worms. I had money on the worms being real happy. No word on how my sister felt.
Edwards looked disappointed when I didn’t add to our conversation.
“Lou, it might be a good idea for you to help them find the money. It could be a big windfall.”
Now we were getting somewhere. Just like all the rest of the treasure hunters, the miserable bastard was just in it for the money.
“Windfall for who, John? Me or you?”
As if tasting a lemon, Edwards twisted his face and, at the same time, waived his hands at an imaginary fly.
“I’m not sure what you mean, Lou. I’m just trying to give you a head start. If it was my decision, you would still be with us. Fifteen million dollars is a lot of money to lose.”
“It still is,” I said.
I sat and watched Edwards shift in his chair some more. We had nothing left to talk about. I could feel him working out in his mind how he was going to present his failure to get a lead out of me on the money.
“So, what are you going to do now?” Edwards said.
Finally, I had enough.
“Leave. Isn’t that what we all do?”
His smile vanished. He knew he was wasting his time on someone who had maxed out. He also knew he couldn’t hold me. There would be no parole violation with the threat to re-incarcerate me. No work release effort to rehabilitate me. Just a new suit made in the prison cut and sew area and a hundred bucks was the sum total of it. That probably hadn’t changed since the 30s. I wondered if Al Capone wore the suit they gave him when he got out.
We were both looking at the little hourglass of sand now. The sand had drained from the top of the glass to the bottom. Suddenly, as if being shot out of a cannon, we both stood up. Edwards stuck out his hand. I turned and left the room. I didn’t shake his hand. I didn’t want to touch him.
About the Lou Malloy Series
Lou Malloy learns of his sister's death right before he is released from prison, having served 15 years for the theft of $15 million from an Indian casino. He wants two things: to keep the $15 million, which no one has been able to find, and to track down and punish whoever killed his sister.
Lou Malloy teams up with Hilary Kelly, a private investigator. In no time, Lou has found the hidden $15 million, recovered guns and ammunition hidden with the money, and murdered two low-level mobsters and fed them to the crocodiles.
As the body count rises, the story grows more complex and his sister's death becomes more mysterious.
Praise for Dead Money Run:
"Dead Money Run is a hard-boiled thriller. It is a book of short chapters and almost unrelenting excitement as Lou and Hillary Kelly avoid cops, kill mobsters, and try to unravel the mystery of who killed Lou's sister and why.” - Reviewed by Wally Wood at BookPleasures.com
“Fans of James Ellroy and Elmore Leonard are going to love James’ ingenious capers, devious characters and wry humor. The entire book goes down like a strong yet smooth shot of bourbon.” - Reviewed by BestThrillers.com
"DeadMoney Run by J. Frank James is a pure adrenalin rush from the very beginning. Yes, it is very violent with some strong language, but filled with excitement that keeps the reader wanting to know what comes next." - Reviewed by Paul Johnson for Readers' Favorite
“J. Frank James did a very nice job constructing a fast moving plot for Dead Money Run. It is intriguing and thrilling. However, the reader should be prepared for a bit of gruesome violence. Yet, the violence doesn’t override the mystery and suspense within the story. Hold on to whatever it is that you’re sitting on as you read this story, because James is about to take you on a wild ride.” – Reviewed by Red City Review
About the Author:
J. Frank James has a passion for writing, and he certainly has the knowledge and experience to write realistic crime thrillers, thanks to his extensive background in law. Jim attended law school, where he was a member of the law review. He even went on to pass the state bar and started his own law practice that specialized in complex litigation. Jim's experience in law helps lend credibility to his crime fiction books. He has also traveled extensively and gains inspiration for his crime thrillers from his travels. From observing other cultures and gaining new experiences, Jim is able to infuse new life into his books and develop believable characters that readers can identify with.
J. Frank James writes crime thriller novels that are gripping and suspenseful. He is the author of the Lou Malloy Crime Series and the Indigo Marsh Detective Series.
J. Frank James is also an artist and he creates all of his own book covers.
To learn more, go to http://www.jfrankjamesbooks.com/