Last Updated on: February 16th, 2016
Today The Blind Blogger shares how he overcame the struggles he had with making his book available in print to the world.
Please welcome Maxwell Ivey to center stage as he shares his story of how he became an independently published author in 2015.
It’s quite inspirational, and leads me to wonder why more people aren’t becoming authors nowadays!
The Writing Journey Ends – or Begins?
Imagine this scenario:
You have written your first book. You have fought through writer’s block, endured many sleepless nights, overlooked the criticism of friends and family, and overcome questions about whether or not you are good enough or have a story worth telling. Now you are asking yourself, “What do I do next?”
I was at that place a few months ago. I had responded to a challenge from a friend to create an online product, and started a book, Leading You Out of the Darkness Into the Light: A Blind Man’s Inspirational Guide to Success.
We’ve all heard how selling our own e-books, and audio or video courses on our websites can be great for our businesses, right? So, in addition to this challenge providing a chance to share my story, I saw it as an opportunity to bring in some much-needed income. Oh, and maybe become famous! (“wink wink”)
After I finished the e-book, the question remained: What do I do next? I knew I had to edit it, but I wanted to publish it, too.
The Book’s Written – Now How do I Publish it?
I had explored the idea of going the traditional publishing route and realized that it wouldn’t work for me — especially not as a first-time author who had no name recognition to bring to the table. I know a lot of people have come to know me online, but my following isn’t anywhere near big enough to convince a publisher that I can deliver sales in large numbers. I had read many posts about on the pros and cons of traditional publishing versus self-publishing, and learned that there were many steps involved, from Lorraine’s experience with publishing Risky Issues. I knew I would be going the self-publishing route.
How Does a Blind Man Self-Publish a Book?
Because I’m almost totally blind, I use a screen reader for all of my online activities, and so know many websites, platforms, and services are not user-friendly. I expected that the submission forms for Amazon and CreateSpace would be difficult to use, and they were. After trying unsuccessfully to use these sites, I soon realized that I was going to need help.
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I turned to someone who was a friend, an editor, and someone I trusted — Lorraine. I had been sharing parts of the document along the way, and she kept encouraging me to complete the book.
I finally bit the bullet and sent it to her. This wasn’t easy. My own Is-it-good-enough? gremlins showed up to talk me out of pressing “Send” several times. It was only when I sent it to someone who doesn’t know me very well — a coach in California named Kelly — that I finally did get the book off to Lorraine.
Lorraine said my book wouldn’t need a lot of corrections. I thought, “Either she is amazing or she is crazy.” You see, I had written most of the book with a malfunctioning keyboard. There were many places where the e’s i’s and o’s were missing. I know it would have taken me hours to find and replace them all. But she acted like it was no big deal.
Note from Lorraine: It wasn’t! Word’s “Find and replace” feature did all the work!
But then Lorraine got to perform her real magic. She organized my document into the book it is now. She divided it into chapters, with headings and titles. She clarified my exercises and improved their instructions. She also reordered things in a few places, too, so that they would make more sense to the reader. Then Lorraine helped me create an author bio page to add to the book.
Lorraine was also responsible for creating the front matter of the book (the contents of the copyright page), complete with proper attributions to the right people.
You see, the submission process isn’t only difficult for the blind person; it can be hard to figure out even if you have sight! Each site has different standards and formatting guidelines, for not just the text, but for the cover images, too, as they have to be submitted in varying sizes and formats.
Fortunately for me, Lorraine has connections to some talented people who have experience with formatting both text documents and book covers. All in all, to make my book available on both Amazon and CreateSpace, it took six people to get the job done: me to write it, Lorraine to edit it, Melissa Bowersock to format it, Jenny Rollo to create the original cover image, Angela McCall to design the cover and Brenda from coversbydesign.net to format the cover for printing.
Obtaining Copyright Permissions
During this publishing process, I found out something about images from Lorraine. She had told me from the beginning to make sure I had the rights to use any images I planned on including. I had permission for the original photo I selected, which was of a metal pipe/tunnel. But thanks to a post I wrote on The Blind Blogger asking for feedback, I received some other image suggestions, and we ended up using one of them.
However, as it turned out, we were unsure as to whether or not we had full permission to use the image Angela selected. So Lorraine tracked down the original owner, sent her an email explaining the situation, and ended up obtaining permission to use it, provided we credited her with the copyright. It’s a great relief knowing that I haven’t left myself open to a lawsuit and that Lorraine was conscientious enough to make sure of this.
Before you can create a print version for the world, you want to make sure it’s world-ready. You do this by getting a proof copy so you can review it prior to final approval. Well, you don’t have to, but it is recommended!
However, because I can’t see, I had to get Lorraine to proof it, and in order for me to have a copy of my book sent to Lorraine, we needed special permission from CreateSpace to have her handle my account. Giving her my login information and password just wasn’t enough. Plus, I wanted to pay for it; I didn’t want Lorraine to incur that extra shipping cost.
So Lorraine and I got on Skype together and then she simultaneously got on the phone with customer support at CreateSpace.
With their help, I was able to put Lorraine’s name on my account and get a proof copy sent to her.
When she got it, she read through it again. There is always something that gets missed, but Lorraine’s eagle eye caught the miniscule errors. For example, a link had to be spelled out using the URL. Plus, she needed to alter the front matter on the copyright page so that it all fit on one page and was perfect.
Not surprisingly, we were so focused on other things that we forgot one little detail.
Once everything was perfect, she submitted the various files to Amazon and CreateSpace and then added links to the places where my book is being sold to my website.
I sent her the text I had used on my Selz page, and she told me right away, “Max, this isn’t good enough to make people buy the book. They have to ‘need’ to buy the book!”
So she rewrote what I’ll call the ad copy for my e-book and also for the package of an hour’s coaching plus the e-book. When more money starts coming in, I fully plan to ask her help with writing the descriptions for the equipment listings on my website.
Maybe I need to get her to punch up my dating profiles. (“wink wink”)
Encouragement Never Falls On Deaf Ears
As you can see, the process of submitting an e-book for publication has many steps, and they all take time – sometimes a lot of time!
I hope that reading a bit about my experience hasn’t scared you away from doing it. You just need to take it one step at a time and stay patient. And it never hurts to have a good editor. (“wink wink”)
About My Book
Leading You Out of Your Darkness and Into the Light: A Blind Man’s Inspirational Guide to Success is a motivational book in which I share the 11 steps of my success as a blind entrepreneur and the lessons I have learned from my journey.
It also provides 11 exercises for readers to do, complete with email support from me.
It is my sincerest desire to help you succeed in accomplishing a big goal or achieving your dreams! Stop the excuses and get started on your journey today!
Throughout it all, I will be with you, guiding you, helping, offering support, and being your friend. This is more than just a book, it’s a chance to change your life.
Please note that my book is available as an e-book, too!
Encouragement for you – via 2 Contests!
To help encourage people to reach for their dreams, I want to offer you a chance to win a signed copy of my book. I just received my first batch of copies, so now I have them on hand to mail to anyone requesting an autographed copy. And, yes, Lorraine, I haven’t forgotten that I promised you the first one. Well, I’ll give you the second one, I’m keeping the first one for myself! I also took a photo of me with it! (“wink wink”)
Because I didn’t really know how to set up a contest, Lorraine did this for me on my site. She held one a while back using Rafflecopter’s online system, so I knew she knew how to do this.
My goal is to inspire others, and so by holding these contests, I hope I can do this!
After all, if I can inspire Lorraine – a professional writer/editor/author/social media expert and website consultant to finally get her own book into print, then I’m just the guy for you. (“wink wink”)
And I’m going to sweeten the pot. If the winner wants it – and I can’t imagine them not wanting it – I will also give (yes, give!) the winner one free hour of coaching – currently valued at $60 but soon to be increased to $100, as long as that person provides me with an honest testimonial of my awesome coaching services afterwards. (“wink wink”)
Enter the Contests! (Note: Both are now closed.)
To enter the contest on Wording Well, simply leave me a comment on this post and explain why you want or need my book and/or the free coaching.
To enter the contest on The Blind Blogger, fill out the Rafflecopter form found in the post about these contests.
How Long the Contests Will Last
Each contest will last one week.
How the Winners Will Be Chosen
Through the contest on my site, the winner will be chosen randomly through Rafflecopter.
On Lorraine’s site, I’ll read through the responses and choose a winner based on what people say. The winner’s name will appear at the end of the post after a week, and I will contact that person through email, privately. From there, the winner will let me know where to send the autographed copy and we will figure out the best way to connect so that I can provide the promised hour of coaching. Generally, coaching is done through Skype or Google Hangouts, but it can also be done via phone.
Some Parting Words from Max
I hope to hear from you soon. I love meeting new people and making new friends. I enjoy answering questions whether they be about the amusement industry, blogging and podcasting, or what it’s like to be blind. I’ve been interviewed many times, and I’m quite open about my abilities and achievements.
Feel free to leave me questions in the comments or visit my website and/or send me an email.
Thanks to Lorraine not only for all her help on the book but for being such a great friend and for giving me the chance to share some of my experience being a self-published author.
Now, if I can just figure out how to convert this book into a video or audio presentation — or both.
That’s my next big goal. Maybe one of you can help me. (“wink wink”)
Thanks again and see you in the comments!
Make sure to convince me why YOU should win this book!
The Winners of these Contests
A HUGE thanks goes out to all who participated in both contests. THANK YOU, EVERYONE!
The winner of the contest on Max’s site, The Blind Blogger, is Jason Butler.
The winner of the contest on Wording Well is Vashti Quiroz-Vega.
Congratulations, both of you! 🙂