As more and more people read my new book, The Long Road from Highland Springs: A Faith Odyssey, I am beginning to receive letters and notes expressing appreciation for the book. I am grateful.
Some will think I am brazenly opportunistic, as well, when they read this post. I know it may look that way, and it probably is, at its basest level, but it is also at least somewhat necessary.
As many of you know, I published the book myself. That is, rather than submit the manuscript to countless publishers only to be told, if they bothered to respond at all, that they do not read unsolicited manuscripts, I decided to bear the cost of publishing the book myself. That means, among other things, that I have no agent or publisher to promote and market the book on my behalf.
Total costs for editing, layout, cover design, and other expenses required to transform the manuscript into a book available in softcover and as an ebook totaled more than $4000. I received a designated personal gift for roughly half that amount. The rest I paid myself.
If enough people buy the book (approximately 450), I can recover those out-of-pocket costs. That’s my primary goal so far as book sales are concerned. Anything more than that is gravy. (That may not sound like a lot of sales until you realize that the average book sells fewer than 250 copies. We’re not all Stephen King or J.K. Rowling.) Still, even that level of sales means that I need to generate some “buzz” from those who have read the book to spark interest in those who have not yet read it. That’s where this post, and probably some more like it in the future, comes in.
If you choose to keep reading this post, here’s what you will find. I selected brief excerpts from seven notes I have received from people who read the book. One is from a beta reader who, at the time she wrote the note, had read only an unedited manuscript. One is from the man I paid to do the final edit of the manuscript prior to publication. One is from the man I asked to write the back cover blurb. Three are from people who volunteered to write a review of the book in exchange for a free copy. And one is from a former student, now a pastor, who bought a copy with his own money and sent me a note completely on his own initiative.
I tell you this in the interest of full disclosure. These are not comments from disinterested parties who found the book on a remainders table at a book fair and bought a copy for fifty cents. In each case, the writer and I have some connection. In each case, however, what I quote here is from a personal note and is not part of a formal review. That’s more than enough of a disclaimer, I think. I’ll leave it up to you to judge these comments as you will.
From P.H., an editorial consultant in AL–Thank you for the opportunity to work on your significant and substantial manuscript. It’s… rare to meet someone who can ponder deeply and then write clearly about it, as well as portray life events vividly—all with a great deal of technical and expressive skill with the written word. I salute you for an excellent piece of work as well as a compelling story, extremely well told.
From C.B., a former student and now a senior care-giver in PA–I loved reading your book. It was an authentic and thoughtful journey that sought to honor truth, while resisting the temptation to point fingers at anyone or any organization. …I’m confident that God isn’t finished with his plans for you yet. And I believe that your book is a much needed message for the church of today. …I appreciate the genuine way you present your emotional struggles. I absolutely loved the epilogue and think that it is the best part of the book!
From D.S., a former colleague and now a university prof in KY–I just finished reading your book. Bravo! It’s a great read. Your writing is fluid, and you tell a fascinating story.
From J.D., a friend and former parishioner in VA–You caught my attention right from the beginning. …The idea of taking a ‘journey’ was brilliant! A very good method for moving things along and, like you, I wish it had really happened. …Your ability to tell a story is amazing. …This is definitely a story to be told. I finished the book sort of overwhelmed. You challenged me in my own faith walk—to quit taking things for granted, to learn more about church history, to be more open to the Spirit’s leading me in new directions and to mend fences where I’m to blame. I was also left with a… feeling of optimism! I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the story.
From R.N., a friend and businessman in PA–When I expressed interest in reviewing your book, my expectations were quite different from the reality. Even though I was expecting it to be good stuff, I also expected it to be a little over my head with vocabulary that would require a dictionary on my part. I also expected it would take me a few weeks to get through it. I was totally and completely wrong… . Not only was it an easy read for me but, once I got into it, I could not put it down. …I now need to write a review of your book. Needless to say, it will be quite positive. I am not sure if my positive response is because I can personally identify with so much of your journey or simply the manner in which it was written. Either way, I really enjoyed it and greatly appreciate the openness and transparency you demonstrate throughout.
From T.W., former student and current math teacher in DE–Just finished your book. Fantastic! I read through nearly the entire book in one read. I couldn’t put it down!
From P.Y., former student and current pastor in OH–I am thoroughly enjoying reading your book. I was asking myself this evening, “Would I enjoy reading this book if I did not know the author?” And I knew the answer as soon as I asked the question. “Yes. Absolutely. Yes.”
If this blatant self-promotion has stirred your interest in the book, just click on the title or the cover image at the top of this post, and that will open the Amazon listing where you can order the book in either soft-cover or Kindle ebook format. Thanks.