In his engaging and well-reviewed autobiography, My Journey, Major General William Steele recounts his life and military experience. He discusses why it was so important to acquire an editor and the specific, targeted marketing techniques he uses.
1. Pretend for a moment I’m a reader looking for my next book. Pitch me your book in five to ten sentences.
This is a unique autobiography and one worthy of your time. Consider the following reviews:
“My Journey is a wonderful story of one man’s lifetime of dedication to his family and to the nation.”—Howard “Bo” Callaway, Secretary of the Army (1973-1975)
“[It is] a story of his life in childhood, in the U.S. Army, in corporate America, and upon his retirement. [It] includes many interesting and moving details in his life recalled with great clarity . . .”—General William R. Richardson, U.S. Army (Ret.), Commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (1983-1986)
“It is splendid, engaging, written in an appealing conversational style, candid, and told with becoming personal modesty.”—Dr. Lewis Sorley, military historian and author of Westmoreland
2. What motivated you to become an indie writer?
Actually I intended writing about my life to provide some historical record for my family and future generations. But I wanted it to be written and printed in a professional manner. I hired an editor to help me achieve that goal. After looking at the draft, she thought that others might benefit from my experiences and suggested that it be edited and published with that in mind. At that point we decided to do so.
3. Have you been traditionally published? Why or why not?
No, because I did not start with publishing as a goal and did not approach a publisher for that purpose.
4. How have you liked self-publishing so far?
It has been an interesting experience. I have learned a lot, enough to make me realize that my research on the publishing process was insufficient at the outset.
5. Tell me about the marketing techniques you’ve used to sell your books. Which ones have been the most successful?
My marketing effort is just beginning so I cannot evaluate the effectiveness of the different techniques at this time. I began by notifying friends, family, and other contacts about the book and where they can get it. I also gave a copy to a select few people in different prospect groups so they might spread the word. My plans include:
· Contact with book stores to schedule signings.
· Placement of the book in local sales venues such as military museum gift shops.
· Offering to speak at local civic clubs about the status of the Army and the impact of currently proposed budget cuts, with the proviso that I can have my book available for sale.
· Attendance at a scheduled reunion of my wartime unit and having an opportunity to market my book.
· Looking for various venues where my book could be shown and/or sold.
6. Are there any marketing techniques you intentionally avoided or discontinued, and if so, why?
I have not planned any advertising, other than perhaps the announcement of a few signings. The reason is cost effectiveness.
7. What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about self-publishing that you didn’t know when you started out?
I learned that I needed an editor that knew the publishing business, and fortunately I found a good one with Lorraine Fico-White of Magnifico Manuscripts.
8. If you could do one thing differently in publishing your books, what would it be?
I would obtain the services of an editor at the outset and decide on a publisher with the editor’s help.
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?
There are many articles describing marketing techniques. Just read some of them and choose the techniques you can afford. The goal should be to put your book in front of as many people as possible at the least cost.
10. What projects are you currently working on?
None at the moment.
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?
Everyone has a story to tell and everyone likes to hear a good story teller. Why not tell your story?
12. How can readers learn more about your books?
Simply go to Amazon.com and pull up My Journey by William B. Steele.