After making an initial inquiry, I was romanced by Westbow Press when it came time to publish One of the Few, and I almost went with them.
But in the end, I didn’t.
I called it off, and for one very good reason.
First let me say that I think working with Westbow would have been a very positive experience. Based on multiple phone conversations, including a conference call including three representatives at once, I believe the customer experience and final product would have been top-notch.
And to have the recognizable Westbow icon stamped on the spine—that was an enticing incentive to go with such a reputable organization.
In other words, I have the utmost respect for their people and their product.
It was the process that made me second-guess if it was the right decision for my book.
Like many assisted self-publishing arms of major publishing houses (Westbow is a division of Thomas Nelson and Zondervan), there were several packages ranging from $1,099 to $17,999.
But in my case, I had already done a lot of the work. The book had passed under dozens of eyes before getting a final professional edit. The cover was already chosen and professionally designed.
The entire book was written! It just needed interior design, publication, distribution, and marketing.
And marketing is now largely expected from the authors, even when using traditional publishers in many cases.
I raised nearly $8,000 during a pre-order crowd-publishing campaign on Publishizer.com.
In the end, it came down to one final decision:
Do I spend the money myself to self-publish, or give it to an assisted self-publishing house?
I consulted with one of my launch team members who served as a business advisor. He had a strong distaste for assisted self-publishing. And what he told me next shaped my ultimate decision to go full-monty on self-publishing:
“They stand to gain, but assume none of the risk.”
He was right. I had done most of the heavy lifting and made most of the decisions upon which my book would succeed or fail.
The last few steps could be easily accomplished using CreateSpace (design, publication, and distribution) and social media (marketing).
Granted, and $18,000-dollar package might unleash the kind of industry magic that skyrockets authors to fame.
But what if it didn’t?
I called Westbow that night and told them, “I’m sorry. It’s not you. It’s me.”
I self-published the paperback through CreateSpace, the hardcover through Ingram Spark (Lightning Source), the Kindle version through Kindle Direct Publishing, as well as an audiobook version (narrated by the author, or course) through ACX (Audible).
Has the book skyrocketed to success?
No. Not yet.
But I learned a lot about the book industry and about self publishing, and in my case, I think it was the right call.
And about the Westbow logo on the spine? It would have been nice.
But the logo on the spine of One of the Few now has even more meaning.
I named my publishing imprint after our son Boone Shepherd whom we lost in April of 2015.
His hand is holding a Shepherd’s staff, raised in final victory, leading the way.
Jason B. Ladd is an award-winning author and USMC veteran. He has flown the F/A-18 "Hornet" and the F-16 "Fighting Falcon" as an instructor pilot. He is also the creator of IndieListers.com, the web's largest online database of book promotion results. Learn more about him on his website, or follow him on his Facebook Page.