Sunday, May 1, 2011

Authors Speak: M. Michele George (Part 1)

Book Blogette spoke with Biomedical research Coordinator, M. Michele George, author of The Knotty Truth: Managing Tightly Coiled Hair at Home: DIY Survival Guide  and The Knotty Truth: Creating Beautiful Locks on a Dime!: A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Locks (Volume 1).

BB: Tell me your first book's story and why you didn't go to a traditional publisher.

MMG: Writing a book on hair was not my goal. My goal was to learn and teach myself to do my own hair. After 10 years of gathering articles, pictures and writing notes, it struck me around 2005 that I had a book. I finished the book in 2007 and turned my manuscript over to an editor and graphics designer. Two years later, after a lot of bumps and bruises from the school of learning, I had a book on the market. I simply thought a book would be helpful and the rest is history.

I had already experienced the rejections and long wait times by trying to publish a personal book with  traditional publishing companies! Not only was it expensive to be rejected, it wasted a lot of time and energy. Personally, I decided that I did not need a publishing company to tell me that I have a book in me. I have always had a book in me screaming to get out. When you have been called to write you do. I used to write letters to my parents, to imaginary friends, to relatives to scorned boyfriends about my feelings and thoughts when words could not capture the message I wanted to convey. I loved writing articles for local papers and organizations and watch the words come together to portray a message that never existed before I put pen to paper and created them.  I caught the self-publishing bug when  self-publishing was just beginning to boom in the mid 2000’s. Originally, my first book was going to be an e book. I just didn’t take myself seriously as an author, after all, I was a scientist by training. Sure, I had written scientific papers, theses and such, but an actual literary book that others would buy, no. Therefore, my initial thought was to create a resource available for download. The tide turned when a friend of mine let me know that she was a publisher with ISBN’s to loan out. She got a hold of what I was doing; and, the rest is history. As the book took off, I developed my own publishing company and put my books under my own company, Manifest Publishing Enterprises, LLC.

BB: What was the most difficult part of publishing on your own?

MMG: The first book was in the hands of an editor for a year. The graphic designer that worked with that editor was going through some emotional problems and technical difficulties. Eventually, I received the book back into my hands and turned it over to a great graphic designer by the name of Storme Grey. She really made the book pop with charts and designs and knotty notes. The second book I had an editing team which included a medical doctor, a licensed beautician,  a natural hair editor and others. I parceled out specific chapters to each and we edited as a team, things moved rather quickly that way.

The most difficult part of writing is editing. Editing is just not fun. The mind plays tricks on you. What I see on paper frequently differs from what I type. To say the editing process is complete is even harder. It’s hard to stop ‘editing’ because there’s always room for improvement and I’m my worst critic. Another part that I irritates me is finding the right graphic designer to work with that has a vision for my work. I have learned the hard way that graphic designers are extremely creative people. I am extremely left brain, black and white in my thought process. It’s often difficult for me to communicate effectively with graphic designers because of these differences. They want a definitive vision and I don’t know the vision until I see it. That can lead to some interesting differences. It’s an interesting dynamic I have yet to master and it is extremely frustrating to get to the end product time and time again just to get held up at the final production stage with a graphic designer.

BB: The first book must have done pretty well for you to decide to do it again. 

MMG: The first book has consistently grown year over year and month over month. I have never executed an aggressive marketing plan; because, quite frankly getting a book to market is expensive. The lucky authors  clear their costs the first year. The majority don’t. To further turn around and pour more money into marketing without a definitive ROI is precarious. With online efforts, I am happy with the book’s progress and clear most of my sales on Amazon and local book stores. If I had a larger team, I had a much larger market penetration.  I will share that I am in the black, not the red and I would do it again.
The second book has been released as of April 2011. 

Visit soon or become a fan on Facebook to know when to come and read Part 2 where George talks about her new project.

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