Don't You Dare Tell Me My Baby's Dead, Fool!: Part 1-- Reb MacRath
Oh, They have a long list of reasons why the book that's your baby belongs in the casket they've already made. It's too short/long/purple/plain/commercial/literary/off-the-wall/common...or to put it simply:
I've spent the past year on a project that had Too-Too all over it before I'd even started. And yet I continued with some trepidation. But, as I continued, I grew more defiant. I also grew more confident that there was a market for my project: seven radical renditions of poems by one lesser-known Roman poet--'inspired-by covers' instead of conventional translations. I envisioned a book totaling maybe 50 pages, including commentaries that I hoped would be half of the fun. Since nothing like this book exists, it might have a fighting chance if I remembered E. Lynne Harris.
Harris was a bisexual black author who self-published this first book in 1991. Like other authors in those pre-Web days, Harris drove around in a car loaded with copies. But unlike other indies, Harris had a core target group of readers in his mind: black hair salons, the sort his sexually fluid characters would patronize. Meanwhile, Harris also called on indie bookstores, knowing a godfather or godmother would help. He found his at Atlanta's Oxford Books, where the head of PR took him under her wing. At that time, Oxford Books still had a lot of clout. Result: a sale to Anchor Books in 1994. Fame and fortune followed, along with 9 more books.
Lessons E. Lynne Harris Mastered
1) Know your target audience.
2) Find ways to get your book into the hands of those who can help you spread the word that something new and exciting is here. Give away as many copies as required instead of focusing only on sales.
3) Do your best to be blessed with a True Believer too.