Gary Goldstein turned his personal struggles into an inspiring story about the wages of addiction and the mistreatment he endured in prison. Learn more about his unorthodox and creative marketing approach and his advice to new writers.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
Jew in Jail is the remarkable true story of the nearly six years I spent incarcerated for robbery, which was a direct result of my past addictions to alcohol, drugs and gambling.
If you are fascinated by prison tomes, this book is for you. It deals with not only the ins and outs of the New York State prison system, but my attempts at recovery from a lifetime of alcohol, drug and gambling abuse, all the while dealing with the constant prejudice and mistreatment I experienced at the hands of the corrections officers and my fellow prisoners alike. If you have ever been an addict, or know a family member, spouse, friend, or co-worker who is currently battling an addiction, then this book will open your eyes and provide insights into this dreaded disease, and what it takes to get clean and sober. Read Jew in Jail today. It just might save your life, or the life of someone you love!
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
I had a story to tell, and wanted to help people avoid all of the mistakes and pitfalls I made in life.
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
No, Jew in Jail was self-published through CreateSpace. As a first-time, unknown author, I found it difficult getting accepted by traditional publishers.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
Being hands-on, I like the fact that I am involved in every aspect of the process. But, by the same token, doing so much of the work pertaining to the marketing of my book leaves little time for anything else.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
The most successful marketing technique I have used thus far – and continue to use – is dressing up in my prison costume to get attention for Jew in Jail, which I first did last May at the Jacob K. Javits Center for BookExpo America 2011 (BEA 2011). I paraded around the entire center handing out my business cards and bookmarks, took photos with attendees, and also autographed copies of my book wearing that outfit. Now, wherever I go, I am known as the Jew in jail, or at least, that Jew who was in jail, and wrote about it! It certainly was a smart marketing strategy, and one that has gotten me noticed.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
No, I can’t say that I have avoided any marketing techniques at this point. I continue to make in-person appearances wearing my prison costume at the criminal court building in Manhattan, and anywhere else I go to promote my book, and also remain involved in social media as well.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
That in order to succeed, I have to remain very much involved in all the decisions that need to be made, and also have major input in seeing this process through to completion.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
Be more aggressive in sending out press releases and galley proofs to announce my upcoming book in order to get better publicity in this highly competitive industry.
9. Independent authors face the obvious challenge of marketing their books without the resources of traditional publishers. What advice do you have for an indie author just starting out?
Find a hook to market your book that will set it apart from all of the others, and remain diligent and persistent in getting the word out.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
I have another book (about the internet) that I would like to write and get published, but for the time being, I am content to continue to market Jew in Jail. I am also a motivational and inspirational speaker on addiction and recovery interested in helping other addicts out there who are still sick and suffering, which is tied to my book as well.
11. If you could market your brand – not just one particular book, but your overall brand of writing – in one sentence, what would it be?
That I am a no-nonsense, direct and efficient writer who tells it like it is!
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
By going to my website, jewinjail.com. The MEDIA tab contains all of the interviews, reviews, articles, and videos I have done as well.