14,400 hits, 94 countries, 7 months
I find it fascinating that this modern Internet age has brought both its opportunities and challenges. For example, I began writing this blog in January of this year. So far, I’ve had 14,400 hits in over 94 countries. I’m not telling you this to brag, but to express amazement that this Salt Lake City, Utah lifetime printing broker who has only been two foreign countries in his life, Mexico and Canada, has through the Internet been able to reach out to the entire world.
Seeing the Forest for the Trees
Now, my progress is not spectacular. I’m not an Internet shooting star. What I am is a person sitting at my desk on the lower east slope of the Wasatch Front in my eighty-year-old home overlooking the Salt Lake Valley. I’m a publicly-educated, middle-class guy, raised in a middle-class family, without any particular social advantages. My only real leg up is that I have a better-than-average capability to see the forest for the trees and a strong work ethic. With these abilities, I’ve managed to make a lower-upper-middle-class income over the past twenty years by selling my knowledge of printing and offering my services to help customers get their printed projects delivered on-time, at competitive prices, at improved quality levels.
What I’m trying to say is that I really haven’t achieved any more than millions of other Americans in similar circumstances.
Writing the Great American Novel
So what is it that this unspectacular, pretty average guy brings to the table that people throughout the world might want to know? Obviously, my understanding of printing and how to get things done efficiently has proven to have value. It has been that knowledge that paid my bills for 20 years. What else? I wrote a novel and that experience brought me to the edge of my knowledge chasm.
I looked down and realized that I had no idea of how to cross to the other side. In the real world a printed book makes a poor bridge across a wide gulf. In the mind, however, a book can be anything. It can give you wings.
Could I produce a book? You bet. I could do that in my sleep. Did I know what to do with it once it was created? No way.
Those Who Sort the Avalanche
That’s when I discovered some interesting facts. I believed that writing a book was unique. Wrong, some 80% of adults would like to write a book. Of that 80%, many, like me, actually do it. I also believed that publishers would be anxious to get their hands on my special novel. Wrong again. I learned that most publishers aren’t interested in a manuscript that hasn’t been presented to them by well-connected agents, so I contacted a lot of agents. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with them. They seemed oblivious to the particular genius of my book, then I discovered that both agents and publishers face daily avalanches of manuscripts. Far more than they could ever get through. How could anyone deal with this mass of paper? They take short cuts and make primary decisions on arbitrary things. Oops a misspelling–you’re out. Darn the manuscript was bound when the instructions said unbound–you’re out too. And so on. I was told that less than 4% of submitted manuscripts ever become books. Getting a book traditionally published isn’t an up hill battle, it is a vertical climb without a rope. I didn’t like the odds and began to seriously consider the concept of self-publishing.
Pre-build the Audience
That’s where I am now. I am learning everything I can as fast as I can about self-publishing and marketing. This blog, example gives me an opportunity to introduce myself to the world. So far this year, as I said earlier, over 14,000 people have checked in. By the end of the year, could that number double? What about the year after that? At some point, and I’m not sure when that will be yet, I will feel ready to invest in producing my book and offering it to my readers. My reasoning is that if people like my blog they will likely like other things I write.
Free, Free, Free
Again, I’m not a shooting star. I’m just a regular guy who has the ability to express myself fairly well in the medium of the written word. I have hopes and dreams just like any other person. I’m thrilled with the response to Talking Through My Hat–may it continue to grow. The reason I wrote my story here is to give others hope too. The Internet provides a platform to talk to the entire world. If you aspire to be an author, and apparently, 80% do, write a blog. If you don’t know how to get started look into The Author Platform by following this link. Talk to people and tell them who you are. Let them get to know you. It’s free or nearly free. It’s the First Amendment to the US Constitution in action. Free Speech for Free how could you get more democratic than that?
P.S.If you already have a self-published book and would like to enter it into a no-fee contest with winner chosen by reader votes go to Wake Up Celebrity Author on The Author Platform. The winner becomes the Barnes & Noble. com Best-Seller. Cool.