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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Interview with Michele Longo Eder-author of "Salt in Our Blood: The Memoir of a Fisherman's Wife"

1. Please tell us about yourself. Are you a full-time writer? Fiction? non-fiction? Other?
~~I'm a commercial fisherman's wife and an attorney. Although I've had some Op Ed opinion pieces published in the Oregonian, "Salt in Our Blood: The Memoir of a Fisherman's Wife" is my first book.

2. I understand you published your book with Dancing Moon Press. Can you tell us how this came about?
~~I met Carla Perry through a program called Writers on the Edge, which Carla and others had started a number of years ago, bringing authors and their writings to Newport, Or. Carla had started her own press, so, knowing quality when I saw it, I went directly to her. I had tried for about a year previously to get an agent and/or traditional publisher to look at it while I was in the midst of editing, but no takers.

3. How difficult was the process from manuscript to book for you?
~~The process of manuscript to publishing was relatively easy for me, except for the fact I had to cut 400 pages to end up with a 400 page book!! I gave the manuscript to several writers and friends, and it came back with gigantic sections crossed out--some with a big red "X!" Once I was satisfied with the manuscript itself, Carla Perry copyedited it, which was invaluable. Carla took out 22 pages of extraneous words, none of which I missed when I read her revised version. As to the actual publishing, Carla and Dancing Moon Press found a graphic designer for the cover, which I loved, a web site designer who was great, and then the manuscript went to a Midwestern press for printing. 

4. As in all books, I'm sure this was a labor of love, but do you have monetary expectations?
~~It was a labor of love, because it was about my family, our daily lives and literally, life and death of my oldest son and three other men. Would I have liked it to become an enormous commercial success? Of course. Am I happy with the way it has sold, and the audiences I have actually spoken to, from Bellingham, Wa. to Los Angeles, Ca? I'm thrilled.

5. How difficult/easy has marketing the book been?
~~It takes a great deal of time. I've worked with a publicist to arrange appearances for me, as well as done a bit of it myself. "Salt in Our Blood" won the 2009 WILLA award for creative non-fiction, and that was a definite boost for sales. I am with major distributors, Partners West and Baker and Taylor, so the book is available to booksellers all over the nation. I've gone to book fairs where I have sat all day and old one book; I've been to events where I've been overwhelmed with sales. I always carry a case of books in my car!

6. Over-all are you satisfied with the Press you chose?
~~Dancing Moon Press and Carla Perry were first rate to work with. It isn't inexpensive, and many people decide to do print on demand or other services. I think using a professional editor and graphic designer made all the difference in the world in terms of sales.

7. What self-publishing pitfalls might you warm others about?
~~No matter how you do it, it costs money. I was shocked to learn how much stores keep of the retail price, as well as how much cut Amazon, etc. charge. But that was just my naivete and lack of knowledge about the book business. And by the way, be sure and make your book available in e-book format. I just read this morning that e-books are outselling paperbacks. I have a hard time believing that, but my sales of the book on Amazon are just about equal with the e-book format and the book itself.

Thank you so much, Michele, for sharing your experiences with us.
Michele's website is: www.saltinourblood.com

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