Ken La Salle

Ken La Salle is active on a variety of artistic fronts, and his book, Climbing Maya, premiers today from Solstice Publishing.  Ken recounts his journey to self-publishing, recommends some vendors he’s used, and points out which methods you should avoid in your marketing.

1. Give me the “elevator pitch” for your book in five to ten sentences.

Climbing Maya asks the question: “What is success?” and doesn’t let go until it has the answer.  Is it fame?  Is it family?  Do the old answers of career and money really hold up?  How can we have one word for something that means so many things?  How is it the dictionary gets it wrong?  When I lost my job, I looked to one friend taking care of his dying wife and another friend killing himself with alcohol, and decided to find the answer.  Climbing Maya weaves my search for an answer in the storyline of what happened to my friends and myself as we came to terms with this pivotal question.

2. Why did you become an indie writer?

I certainly did not become an indie writer out of any choice.  As a matter of fact, I’ve always pushed marketability and accessibility in my work.  I thought those two goals would help me find the mainstream.  As it turned out, however, they had little to do with it.

When I first conceived of Climbing Maya, of writing a book about success, I was unemployed and trying to think of ways I might be able to sell my writing.  I sat with my wife one night and said, “I could write a horror novel or I could write a philosophical memoir on success.”  You know, I wanted to give her clear choices.  Not surprisingly, my wife who is an incredible supporter and friend said, “Write what you want to write.”  So, I wrote Climbing Maya.  I later went back and wrote the horror novel, a zombie book called Wormfood Island.

Wormfood Island was picked up by Northern Frights Publishing, a small publisher out of Canada that is run by one of the best guys around.  Unfortunately, Northern Frights had to exist in a rotten economy and Wormfood Island did not come to pass, which hurt a great deal because I thought the horror novel would be the most marketable.  Around this time, I had a lot of my writer friends tell me I should be self-publishing.  You know, get on the digital bandwagon.  While I felt (and still feel) that mass exposure through a larger venue is the way to go, I knew there was some work that I could release myself, work that might have been too far from the mainstream for some and other work that I hadn’t considered approaching a publisher with, such as my compilations.

In the same month that Northern Frights had to back away from Wormfood Island, I got word from the woman who is now my agent about how much she loved Climbing Maya Climbing Maya is now being published by Solstice Publishing.

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Alan Dawe

Alan Dawe’s book, The God Franchise, was a finalist in a New Zealand book competition, and he’s been busy marketing it ever since.  Though new to self-publishing he’s already learned a lot – and shares some here.

1. Tell me briefly about your book – what is it about and what motivated you to write it?

The God Franchise is literally a theory of everything.  I have always believed that everything in existence must be able to be explained in a cohesive way, so the idea of writing such a book was very attractive.

After an earlier stretch of writing in 2003, and a seven year break while I studied a number of healing modalities, I began again on a specific book in February 2010. After six months of work on the book, I realized that The God Franchise needed to be written first.  So I started again, employing some of the previous material, and focusing on the overall foundation of the spiritual and life truths I had gleaned over the past 50 years.  There were many parts of the book where I did not know where I was heading or what I needed to write, so reading what I had written became an interesting learning process for me too.  Often, I would say to myself, “So that’s how it works!”  I can honestly and humbly say that a lot of the work was inspired from beyond what I consciously was aware of before I started.

The God Franchise is about God, the universe and why things are as they are.  It is about you and me, and the purpose of our lives.  It is about our Higher Selves and our Lesser Selves (The Ego).  The book shines the light of a new perspective on the beliefs that we have carried from the past, and I have presented them in a way which aims to reconcile the major beliefs held around the world.

2. How have your sales been?

At this point I honestly don’t know as the book is only a month old.  Having said that, I have had an extremely positive response from personal sales, and from bookshops in Auckland (NZ) that have picked up the book.  I feel that as people become aware of the book, they will buy it.  There is something in it for everybody, and something really huge.

3. Your book did very well in a writing competition recently. Tell me more about that.

Yes, the book was a finalist (4 out of 57 entries) in the Ashton Wylie Trust Unpublished Manuscript Award 2011.  I had only completed it a few days before the deadline and it was proofread by a friend.  I have since had it professionally proofread and copyedited, designed by a book designer, and have restructured Part One.  The end result is stunning, and I will enter it in the Published Book part of the contest this year, with the intention of winning the top award!  The Award is prestigious and is specifically in the Mind-Body-Spirit genre and offers one of the highest prizes in the country for a book award, $10,000.

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