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working writer wending her way through the labyrinth that is self-publishing

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Interview with Louis Farshee, self-published author

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Are you a full-time writer? Fiction? Non-fiction? Other?
~~I am not a full time writer. For most of my adult working life, I have been a manufacturer's representative of electronic components working with engineers at firms such as Intel, Credence Systems, Tektronix, etc. I have written two journal articles, a number of op-ed pieces published in newspapers and a greater number posted on the internet. All my writings have pertained to historical or political issues. I do not write fiction for the simple fact I do not believe I am sufficiently imaginative. I am a graduate of the University of Memphis with a B.B.A and the University of North Texas where I earned an M.A. in political science. My book is a labor of love that I pursued intermittently for almost three decades. the story of my travels, interviews and research processes might be a more interesting story than the one told in the book.

2. What prompted you to seek an alternative method to publishing your book?
~~A university in Lebanon (the country) wanted to publish the book but after I read their contract I decided against it. Before that event, the first editor (general editor) I engaged told me the story would not have wide appeal and my best course would be to self-publish. The combination of these two events convinced me self-publishing was the best route to take.

3. How difficult/easy has this process been for you?
~~The process was easy and the publisher assigned me to excellent staff people. Each part of the book (cover design, layout, correction, et) was assigned to specialists who were most helpful. I had the text copy edited by a group of retired Ph.Ds in the Tampa, Florida area so that was not part of the book publishing program. My three biggest irritants were, one, a photograph which I was told by Kinkos met the pixel requirements of the publisher but looked terrible in the book. The publisher said the photograph did NOT meet the pixel requirements. All other illustrations and photographs in the book were satisfactory. Second, after each submittal to me by the publisher, my responses back went to the end of the line and I had to work myself forward again. Finally, the index, which was a major problem, took about six (6) weeks to correct to my satisfaction. Nonetheless, other than these three issues the experience was acceptable. From beginning to end, the process required six (6) months.

4. Do you feel satisfied with the results?
~~On a scale of 1 to 10 I would place my level of satisfaction at about 8.5-9. The publisher has my book listed on Amazon.come, Abe Books and several other websites. I do not need to contend with distribution, I only need folks to know that it is available for purchase. I receive a royalty check each calendar quarter.

5. How do you view the publishing industry as a whole?
~~I believe its like everything else. If one is well placed and well represented that can get the most venal trash published. Outsiders, like all outsiders, are fighting an uphill battle.

6. What advice would you give others who are trying to bring their books into the marketplace?
~~This depends on what they have written. In my case, I knew there were sufficient numbers of interested parties who would purchase my boo and permit me to recover my publishing costs. My work is a history of immigrants coming from Lebanon (which was part of Syria at the time). It is different from any other book on immigrants from anyplace that I have been able to locate. A review of it by a Beirut newspaper said it was the way all immigrant books should be written. On the other hand if one is writing fiction or children's books I believe the conventional route might be more practical providing the author wishes to become a professional writer.

Louis Farshee's book, The Way of the Immigrants, can be found on www.amazon.comwww.abebooks.com, and others.

1 comment:

  1. Caro Louis Farshee,
    Meu nome é Yesmin Sarkis, neta de Boulos sarkis Farsher. Moro em Brasília, Brasil e tive a satisfação de encontrar seu livro. Chegou-me ontem às mãos e estou iniciando a leitura com muita emoção. Um privilégio poder conhecer mais sobre nossa família através do seu relato claro e cuidadoso. Grata.
    Aqui a família é grande e pioneira na construção de Brasília. Muitos deles já sabem do seu belo livro.
    Um grande abraço e parabéns por ter conseguido fazer esse relato histórico.