This Kathleen K. Books business all started decades ago on a Selectric typewriter and evolved with technology to land squarely in the Publish on Demand online model, this idea I could be an indie author-publisher wasn’t fluff-headed dreaming of best sellers but setting the pace for a compositional marathon. In pursuit of that dream, I fabricated a dozen books at my own expense and had them reviewed (cha-ching) and advertised (you quoted how much for an eighth-page?). I wanted to focus on oddly thoughtful bedside readers tailored for the nightstand, available via the publisher e-store, and from Amazon for clean-hands distribution, priced to sell at a cost I could sustain. I established the process for making books with CreateSpace.com and love the building phase. I have an additional six books written but not yet scheduled for production so there is no lack of raw material.
What I couldn’t build was a public framework for the project because it wasn’t real yet – and I knew it would take five years to accomplish. Few fans have that much patience if they don’t even know you to begin with. The hardest thing was my leap of faith: whether or not the books ‘get out there’, their existence is the point. Leap again: (And would I really be happy with that?) It held my anxiety at bay to get a positive review or a higher-than-their-average click-through on an ad. The books were holding up to critical scrutiny. Business Premise One: the books are good reads.
What had to happen next is happening now. I am contracted for an “outreach” by a powerful erotic book biz insider; we’ve cultivated an email and phone relationship over three years during which he told me what I’d have to do to be ready. And I did those things.
There is a frisson when women provide porn and it adds tang to what I’m doing. I expect to be best known for the eight sexotic books (the molten core), but there are also four well-received family fiction books that have all the passion but not much of the folderol around sex. These two reader pools translate to a Venn diagram where circles intersect: some readers will be in one circle and some in the other, some in the overlap. Being counterculture also put a lid on me until I felt free to venture into erotic-sexotic-graphic-potcentric-romantic-poetic publishing without it ricocheting on any one dependent on me. It could all go spectacularly wrong and twist from flirty to dirty. I had to consider all sides of calling attention to the business.
This collection fait accompli will seem to come from nowhere, more accurately it is popping up from underground. It was being built in the belief there are rowdier readers who will recognize a good book when they pick one up, and come back for more over time. The books celebrate a long tradition of independent thinkers getting their words to line up just so. Yes, I have a book making machine, as do many others, but I make “craft books” with mine. The work is reviewed as “inventive, intelligent, witty and wise” because it reaches for the richest vocabulary, with the freshest interjections, carving out that moment a reader is held by clarity of expression and can focus on the commotion of emotion around sex∞love. We language lovers use its many layers to mask beauty and hide snide.
The covers are crucial. First glance matters: does it snag the eye? Bring it back? Is there an effective balance of image and lettering; what is the tone? I have “foreseen” what the covers might be for years before a book goes into production and then I see what manifests when the ink hits the paper (pixels on the screen).
Artististic Credits & Acknowledgements: I have been well-served working with a design team at Createspace.com for most of the books; however, Barry (Mandot) Messer was incorporated in Arching Over because he illustrated the original I Feel as I Am Felt poetry volume incorporated within that four-part book, then he and I reunited for Stoner’s Bone of Contention. Maxximus wove my four poetry books into Arching Over then gave us a memorable image of feminine strength for the cover. I commissioned him to create my book logo with me. James Ambrous answered a Craigslist posting to free-hand simple measuring scales at various points of balance for Family: Love v. Money
There is the singular look of a book, and the heft of it, embodied in print. When I started in alternative publishing, having a lightweight library of portable digital files did not compute… getting e-Fingered on a screen isn’t the same as being the only thing held in someone’s hands as the sole focal point. Logically, I bow to mobility via Kindle but my heart is analog and the books should be read in print if possible. [Especially at bedtime = no screens.]
I look forward to saying that I was discovered by a Kirkus review because it is simply true. Two years into my five-year plan, I received a “love your stuff” email from a book pro that dropped the phrase ‘exceptionally gifted’. [Soul = Sold!] (Such a smart man.) It is the one and only communique I’ve received from a half-dozen positive reviews. Why that guy, why then? I had set my lightning rods out and one worked!! And this was Big Buzz bolt from the blue, not from some fellow wannabe starting out but a deeply experienced professional marketeer.
We knew I’d be based online, since the focus was selling the books and not, for instance, book tours and meet-and-greets. The books are disembodied mixed voices and times. My virtual fan base would spread out over the various topics and themes, able to conjure up heart-of-gold prostitutes and heart-of-stone priests. [Who more evil? You more evil!] Each book stretched the perimeter until I’d squared up on my intentions to make the books, come what may; each one a statement piece but all together a compendium.
On the business side, there is also a substantial difference in return to the author for POD books, buying them directly from CreateSpace gives me best royalty so “true fans” will celebrate this indie endeavor by buying through my site. Amazon is the only source otherwise for both print and Kindle but they keep more of the money for themselves. My posted info-buy links fit the trade-local sensibility, to engage directly with the maker of what it is you buy when you can.
Web presence is woven by interlinking & cross-tapping + whatever else I could do to repeat my key phrases for 1800+ days : Kathleen K., books, erotica, fiction, sexotica, family life, curiosa, voyeurism, phone sex, tow truck. The brand name is easy enough, and those search term pairings get first page results on most days. We’re about to tip the first domino and introduce the brand of Kathleen K. Books across the world.wide.wonderful. We are not announcing a single book in a brand new/familiar voice: we are presenting an assortment from which almost any reader could select something “interesting”. Not precisely a book launch, this first campaign is something else. What it is, we’re about to find out.
The entrepreneurial aspect is of interest to some because it demonstrates that you can set a long term target for an art-endeavor made of real-world guidance-targets along the way like reviews and give-aways. We business gamblers dream in a peculiar way when we work the odds and concede the losses so that we can believe our bet will pay off as long as we stay in the game. I am no different than the house painter upgrading her sprayer or the gardener investing in a mobile van… each move was meant to enhance my product. Full circle to the ultimate luxury of my position at this juncture in that whatever I have done is done.
I am unleashing the books.