I have wanted a business of my own for as long as I can remember. It is the American Dream! When we lived in Michigan my wife and I started an online bookstore that served all of the United States. Growth was slow, but it did grow until we moved down to Florida.
We moved down here to take care of my mother-in-law who had Alzheimers. And that quickly became a 24/7 job which eventually led us to closing the store. We simply couldn’t give it the time needed.
My mother-in-law was probably one of the sweetest mothers-in-law ever. A godly woman who was very smart. It was sad seeing her deteriorate and then in 2013 she died. She’s now in Heaven.
About a year and a half later (August 2014) Teresa and I decided to get back in business again. This time we launched T&R Independent Books as the publisher of our books. It was a business that brought us many opportunities, such as this blog.
More about this on the other side of this break.
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Now back to the article.
Starting our own publishing business was a good decision on our part. Back in 2003 when I had my first book published it cost me a hefty (for me) upfront cost of some $400 (in today’s market it is more like $800). The Self-Publisher I went with did a good job on the book, but it didn’t take me long to realize I was doing most of the work, but royalties were small.
I moved to another self-publisher, but the royalties were about the same. I got something like 5-8% for the first 2,000 or so books and then the percentage went up. Eventually reaching 35%. Again, it seemed to me I was doing most of the work yet getting very little royalties.
I had never heard about being an Independent businessman, but my wife and I decided that since we had to do most of the work anyway, we might as well start publishing our own books. So, in early August 2014, we launched. But later that month I had a heart attack. Not related to the business, but it sure impacted it.
The good news in all of that was that while my writing career was temporarily sidetracked, I had time to evaluate where we were and what needed to be done. And I quickly realized that I needed to either buy back book rights or retire the books published through other publishers. Some books I was able to buy back and some I simply retired and rewrote under a different title.
For the next five years I wrote new books, rewrote older books, and learned about publishing. During this time, I also learned that I am called an “Indie” or “an Independent businessman.” Our business is considered an Independent Publisher. So, in effect, we had become Indie authors, publishers, and marketers.
By the way, now I can start out with 35% or 70% royalties from the very first book sold! Plus, I can edit the books after they are published. This is huge, because self-publishers generally require you to purchase another package.
Now, as a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, I have learned a great deal about writing and publishing. And I am learning about marketing, as well. This has led to our launching TR Services in 2019. The School of Hard Knocks is free to take but costs you in time, pain, and wasted money. But that experience inspired me to start TR Services which is aimed at help people to avoid the School of Hard Knocks.
Part of the Service’s outreach is a series of videos laying the basic foundation for men and women who want to be authors. In them I talk about the business itself and in the future will probably do more videos on writing. These videos are free to everyone.
These videos are very important for anyone aspiring to be an author. Why? Because they provide the nuts and bolts of getting started in business with very little cost. Located on our website they are easy to find and watch.
The very first video is both an introduction to the series and to the concept of why you should think of yourself as a businessperson. This is essential whether you publish your own books or not. You need to think of yourself as a businessperson from the moment you start thinking of becoming an author.
Do I have any regrets?
Yes. I wish I would have started this a long time ago. But then I would have missed the valuable lessons of the School of Hard Knocks. So, I guess you are the one who gets the benefits.
So, if there is the slightest chance that you might write a book, whether many or just one, visit us take advantage of our knowledge. It is free and helpful. Periodically I will either up the videos or add additional ones for your perusal.
We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.
Oh, and if you email us inquiring about our services, we will provide you a free copy of our book on writing plus a brochure about our business.