—written by Mustang Sal
I have been ordered by our leader to write on this matter of self-publishing.
I rode a bicycle around the world. That took 18 months. I wrote a book about my travels.
That took 10 years. Publishing the book is taking the rest of my life.
I found and chose Xlibris online because it was not very expensive and it seemed the most aggressive of the bunch to be found there. I submitted about $800 for the first round. Xlibris then wrote me that they had outsourced to the Philippines! We went back and forth, mostly because I am too computer stupid to be able to do things like setting up chapter headings.
If you are looking for advice, here it is: learn how to do chapters and links and footnotes from someone who is a whiz at those things, then worry about the book.
Then there were the pictures. I have a huge pile of really interesting pictures but I was only allowed 24 pictures without paying extra, and I am so cheap. I ended up with about four extra photos, all black and white, and put some colored ones on the cover and the back. I decided to do the people because scenery stuff gets boring but people don’t.
Xlibris ended up doing the art work for some extra money, perhaps $150, and it is a bit weird but I don’t have any better ideas…..so….
Then there was the thing of buying the book. From Xlibris. The more books purchased the cheaper, but there is always the thought of cases of books mouldering in the basement. I thought it would be easy to just go to Philadelphia to pick up the books rather than pay $1.00 each for shipping but ended up paying shipping.
Each 481 page book is costing me $11.00 plus the $100 shipping, first $800, Second $150. I have obviously lost track of the entire operation. To buy the books, 300 of them, cost around $3300.
I now have about $2200 from the sale of the first printing, sitting in the bank waiting for a second round to correct the abominable goofs that were put in there in the middle of the night by the cat.
Xlibris, which, when the books were delivered in boxes that said Random House on the outside (BOOK OF THE MONTH CLUB, Bennert Cerf!) stands revealed as Random House’s chance to make a few bucks on the side. Xlibris contacts me every now and then wanting to know about my life. Heavens knows what I told them, but the bio is strange.
They sent lists of places that they will send the happy news of my life and writing. These are big and little newspapers. I tell them: send the bound copies to BICYCLING MAGAZINE; ADVENTURE CYCLING; Lawrence Walsh, the bicycling writer for the Pittsburgh Post Gazette; and Oprah (they have Oprah listed as Mr. Oprah Winfrey). I gave the 5th copy to my favorite travel writer, Bill Bryson, when he was speaking in Pittsburgh.
The big publicity push is to start December 1, or 5 or something. I can’t wait. Mustang Sally’s Guide to World Bicycle Touring is shockingly cheap on Amazon but you could get an autographed copy from me! I can cut you a deal, but it starts at: $34 for the bound copy, $24 for soft cover, cheap at twice the price.
CONTACT: SalnChasMartin@lhtot.net or 724 593 6921, where Chas or I or the cat will personally answer the phone.