Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Publishing SHADOWS IN THE MIST - Part 2

After doing a goal-reaching exercise on being a published author, I began to list out my top ten values for my career. What was most important? At the top of the list were "launching a successful writing career," "seeing my book in print," and "sharing SHADOWS IN THE MIST with the world." While I was submitting manuscripts to agents, achieving these goals was completely out of my control. I had already spent years playing the waiting game with agents and was ready to waste any more time. So I made a key business decision: self publish.

In short, I formed my own publishing company Blue Morpho Publishing. I shifted my focus from seeing my novel as a manuscript to seeing it as a product to design and release to the market. This was an easy transition for me, because I've always been an entrepreneur by heart. I studied business in high school and college. I was already operating my own successful business as a freelance film/video editor. I was so excited to be taking over the destiny of my book, that I jumped right in. I got some financial backing. I hired an editor, Karl Monger, to give my manuscript a professional polish. I was determined to have a cover that I was not only proud of, but it had to compete for attention of millions of other books out on the market. The cover is where I focused most of my budget. I hired Kathy Dunn to design the cover and Les Edwards to illustrate it. Here's the evolution from sketch to finished cover.

There's a whole lot more that I did to prepare my book for the market that's too detailed for a blog post. If you are a writer and interested in learning more about the business side of self-publishing, email me at Brian@BrianMoreland.com for a free copy of my ebook PUBLISHING FROM MANUSCRIPT TO BOOKSHELF.

Most traditional publishers take anywhere from eighteen months to two years to release a book, from the day I decided to self-publishing, nine months later I was holding a bound copy in my hands. I'll never forget the feeling. Finally, after eighteen years, I had a bound novel with cover art and even a bar code on the back. It was ready to go to market. I originally released SHADOWS IN THE MIST in September, 2006. By October, it was on display at Barnes and Noble where I did two book signings. The goal-setting exercise I did paid off.

From there followed some immediate success. My book hit #1 on Amazon's bestselling thrillers list and had briefly, if only for a few hours, surpassed The Da Vinci Code.

During its first year of publication, Shadows in the Mist received some great reviews.

"Equal parts horror story and spine-jangling thriller. An adventure not to be missed!"

—James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of Map of Bones and Black Order

"Fast paced and tension ratcheting, Brian Moreland's SHADOWS IN THE MIST is a page-turner sure to satisfy even the most fickle thriller junkie! This one definitely won't be collecting dust on your nightstand!"

—Deborah LeBlanc, Author of Morbid Curiosity and A House Divided

Shadows in the Mist is chilling horrorfest, written by a bright new talent in the horror genre. But more than that, this novel is a terrific page-turner that combines the best aspects of mystery, dark suspense, and the historical thriller. Well written. Well researched. And a gripping, haunting read from the opening pages in a creepy Nazi-occupied castle to the grand guignol of the last pages."

—Gary Braver, Bestselling Author of Flashback and Skin Deep

"Shadows in the Mist is one of the best books that I've read this year."

—Horror Bob, HorrorReview.com

“Stephen Ambrose's Band of Brothers meets Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code meets F. Paul Wilson's The Keep. With Shadows in the Mist, Brian Moreland weaves together the best elements of military, supernatural and religious conspiracy genres, staking out a new territory all his own.”

—T.L. Hines, author of Waking Lazarus

Self-publishing offered me the chance to do several book signings and a radio show and meet some incredible people along the way.

While I was I having some initial success promoting my book on my own, it was a lot of work, and I didn't get much novel writing done for about six months after I launched the book. I was wearing too many other hats--publisher, marketer, event planner. But I was having an absolute blast and finally experiencing what I had dreamed of doing eighteen years ago in college. I owe a lot of the book's success to my publicist Leann Garms. Here we are at my book release party at Barnes and Noble in Dallas, Texas.

In 2007 I had a key turning point. I entered my book into an international contest called the Independent Publisher Awards. Shadows in the Mist won a gold medal for best horror novel. Here I am in New York posing with author Riley Weston. Her novel Before I Go won a gold medal for the best novel overall. This is several months since my book launch, so my hair's a little longer.

The award helped my agent land a book deal with a major New York publisher, Berkley/Penguin. In less than one year after my book's release, and within two years of me deciding to self-publish, Berkley bought the rights to release Shadows in the Mist again in small paperback. Landing a book deal with a major publisher was my goal from the beginning. And now it's happening, with the book due to release nationwide in just a couple of weeks, on September 2nd, 2008. Check out the new cover.

That's my story of how I went from a discouraged writer to a self-published author to finally a traditional published author. I have no idea where my career will take me from here. Hopefully people will buy Shadows in the Mist and launch it to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. That, of course, is out of my control. Or is it? I believe we have the power to make our dreams happen. It just takes a lot of persistence, patience, and being believing the old saying "If you can conceive it, you can achieve it."

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