A Blind Man’s Journey to Publishing a Print Book

Last Updated on: February 16th, 2016

Leading you out of the Darkness Book Cover

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.

COPY CODE SNIPPET

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.

Ebook Cover - Risky Issues by Lorraine Reguly

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.

[Tweet “How does a blind man publish a print book? Like this.”]

 

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.

[Tweet “Don’t forget to obtain copyright permissions when #selfpublishing !”]

Proofing the “Proof ” Copy

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.

One of the pages of the book that shows an edit.

[Tweet “Make sure you “proof” the “proof copy” when #selfpublishing!”]

Submitting the Files

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.

Lorraine has also helped by improving my Facebook and other social media pages. I now have better photos on Facebook and Google+, and my descriptions have been improved, too.

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!

~Max

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! 🙂

 

45 thoughts on “A Blind Man’s Journey to Publishing a Print Book

  1. Yes I too want to thank lorraine as well as everyone who participated in the contests. It was a valuable experience for me. I’m looking forward to hearing from the winners after they receive their prizes. Jason butler has been known to me for quite a while now. Vashti is new but I hear from lorraine that she is a successful or up and coming author in her own right. thanks again and take care, max

    • says

      Max, Vashti is already an author! She wrote The Basement. I’m happy you’re going to be working with both Vashti and Jason. They are great people! 🙂

  2. Carol Amato says

    Hi, Lorraine and Max,

    Very special to see Max here on your blog, Lorraine – awesome. Exciting to have a contest too, that’s a lot of fun.

    You’ve been through many challenges, Max, and yet have accomplished so very much. Wishing you all the best with your book and hope there are many more ahead for you as well.

    It’s wonderful that you share because this is an inspiration to all of us. Well done, my friend. Thanks, Lorraine!

    Wishing you all the best. Will be sharing out. 🙂

    ˜Carol

    • says

      Carol, even though the contest is now over (winners were announced today at the end of the post!), we both appreciate you dropping by to comment and offer your support. Thank you for the wishes, too! 🙂

  3. Hi susan; i was happy to read that you too have new products out there. your book sounds awesome. you know i love a good story. 🙂 and i was satisfied to realize that you also had to have a team help you to get it published. I also noticed that you too struggled with accepting that your book should be shared. the technical aspects may have been harder for me but like you i was blessed with good friends to help me get there. thanks for your friendship and the comment. xoxo max

  4. Hi Yatin; so glad you decided to visit both sites. we haven’t known each other long, but you are a good friend. I’m looking forward to seeing more light in yours and my lives as well as the lives of all who read my work. and so what did i motivate you to do if there was some specific action you have taken since knowing me or since reading this. if you don’t want to share publicly then message me with it. wishing you all the best, max

  5. First congratulations on this pretty great accomplishment, Max. You both seem to make a great pair. Max, with your charming writing style and Lorraine’s help, you’re sure to make a success of it. Isn’t it wonderful how we bloggers find ways to help each other? I working a few new product and eBooks/books myself and I know first hand how changing all of the process and development that is required can be. Best of luck to you. 🙂

  6. HI Lorraine
    I am visiting your page for the first time. I am glad I came to know about you through Max’s motivational E-book. You are doing a fantastic job of bringing out the magic of Max’s words in the public. Max is the perfect guy to explain the whole process from darkness to light.
    It gives me confidence too. Max, your work has really motivated me. I really wish more light in both of your life

    • says

      Yatin, thank you for visiting my site. 🙂

      Max has helped many people already, and wants to help more. I’m sure he will be by to reply to you soon, too. He’ll be glad to hear you’re more motivated as well! Good for you! 🙂

  7. Hi Jeanette; Thanks so much for your comment. Knowing your background in marketing and writing in general hearing that you think i have a naturally engaging style is a complement I will take to my heart. 😀 you’ve been a loyal supporter of mine for a while now. thanks so much for being part of my story. take care, max

  8. Hi Linda; yes you are right any big goal is a matter of taking lots of small steps. although some days you get to take more than one of them. and other times it seems like you are sitting on the same spot for weeks. it was great to have lorraine’s help. glad you like the idea of the contest. I’m also happy to see so many people leaving comments on the post. When i do a guest post i feel disappointed if the site owner doesn’t get a lot of traffic or comments or both from my being on their blog or podcast. so all these wonderful comments make me very happy. thanks again my new friend, max

  9. Hi Ryan; You know that you are one of my favorite bloggers. Every time I read one of your posts I think there is still hope for me to travel the world like you do. I just haven’t figured out exactly how to make it happen yet. open to suggestions. maybe you could send me a copy of your book. 😉 seriously I am glad that I can inspire you. I’m also glad that we met through blog commenting and that you have become a good friend a supporter and reader of my blog. its kind of like if a rock star stopped by a garage and jammed with a up and coming band. 🙂 you are the star and I am the one on the way up just in case anyone isn’t sure. thanks again and stop by if you are ever near houston. xoxo max

  10. Jeannette Paladino says

    What a pair you both are! Max, you have a naturally engaging writing style and,Lorraine, I commend you for all the help you’ve given Max. How wonderful that bloggers can truly help other bloggers — and authors. I wish both of you much success!

    • says

      Jeanette, thanks so much for coming by to compliment us! We appreciate your kind words and wishes! 🙂

      I agree, too, that it’s great that bloggers can truly help other bloggers. We can all be successful with one another’s help!

  11. Hi Max and Lorraine,

    What an ordeal you both went through to get the E-book published. It’s all the little steps together that make the big steps happen and this is a fine example of how that works.

    What an inspiration you are to all of us bloggers. You followed through and look what happened. You completed an E-book. That in its self is such an accomplishment for a seeing person yet alone a blind blogger.

    Pat yourselves on the back. you both deserve it.

    Great idea about the contest!

    You both have a wonderful rest of the week,

    Linda

    • says

      Linda, thanks for coming by to comment. Becoming a published author is tough enough for most people, and when you’re blind, it’s even harder. Fortunately, I was available to help Max along his way. I am so proud of him!

  12. Ryan Biddulph says

    Hi Max and Lorraine,

    You make a wonderful team!

    I spot all those lovely little edits after the proof copy arrives 😉 For my books/workbooks.

    As for the book itself, awesome. Max inspires us to be better bloggers and authors because he’s overcome a monstrously large block.

    I figure if he can do it, I can do a bit better, pushing out beyond my comfort zone more each day.

    Max is just that kinda guy. So happy you 2 connected to create a masterpiece.

    Thanks for the inspiring share!

    Tweeting from Bali.

    Ryan

    • says

      Ryan, I appreciate you coming by to show your support for Max.

      You’re right; Max does indeed inspire us to become better people, better blogger, and better entrepreneurs. And in your case, better authors. 😉

      Thanks for Tweeting!

  13. Hi Vashti; I’m very happy to meet you especially through my good friend lorraine’s site. I’m also happy to find I have inspired you. Now my next question is to what. I love hearing that people are taking actions. so is there something you did that you hadn’t done before? Or did i just encourage you to keep going? I look forward to getting to know you better and hearing more about you. take care my new friend, max

  14. Hi Adrienne; well I didn’t think of it that way. At the same time I was working on the book you were working on the course. and yes there do seem to always be at least one more technical problem. but we did manage to get there. And your course has turned out to be a smashing success. I was glad to help in my small way with a guest post about your relationship building approach to online business just as the product was launched. I’ve always known you were proud of and impressed by me. You have always told me so, and I have never doubted your sincerity. you know i think of you as my blogging mama so am happy to hear you are proud of the post and believe in the success of the contest. I’m kind of excited to find out who wins. I’m also hoping to meet some new friends in the comments section. thanks again sweet adrienne. You are a fine woman an awesome friend and a fellow texan too. 😉 xoxo max

  15. Hi Lenie; I’m glad to see you stopped by to read the post. You know me I don’t believe that anything big gets done without help. I may have had to have a bit more of it than I would have if I were sighted. But I believe a smart person would hire an editor whether they can see or not. Its a matter of being too invested in a work. The truth is at some point only someone who hasn’t read it yet can find the weaknesses. I just read where our friend susan cooper has released her own book and I noticed she too had a team of at least three people helping her get there. I hope more people realize the value of asking for help both to their success and for the satisfaction of the person being asked. You’ve been a great friend Lenie. I wouldn’t be here without a lot of great people like you. so thanks a lot. xoxo max

  16. Hi ken; thanks for those positive thoughts. I think I have let myself get distracted. I have been trying to solve the riddle of how to record myself singing with instrumentals and video because I hate not being able to do something. However, people seem to like my singing with or without background music. so i’m going to put that aside and get back to work on videos. I need to redo the intro video on my site. I want to turn it from one long one to three shorter ones. and i do think there is a video series in the book. would love you to email me offline with any suggestions on content or technical matters. thanks my friend. wishing you all the best, max

  17. Hi Amelia; I really love hearing you say that. I have gone from disagreeing with people who called me an inspiration to accepting that they could be right to realizing that not only is it true but i have a responsibility to continue to show up and help people find motivation to do whatever it is that they do. so, Amelia, what is your dream or goal? is there some way I can help with it. Looking forward to seeing you around more. take care my friend, max

  18. Hi Ikechi; You have been a kind and supportive friend for a while now since we met on harleena’s site. I can tell you that its been a good combination of excitement and terror. There was a lot of waiting involved too. but you know its just like anything else you really want it always seems to take longer. I am sure lorraine will be more than able to help you with your own project. I’m proud to call you my friend. good luck, max

  19. Hi Kerry; Thanks for your kind words. I’m sure that when you are ready that you will find the confidence, courage, faith, and friends to help you along the way. Just look how much you have already done with your blogs. take care sweetie, max

  20. Hello friends; I’m sure it hasn’t escaped you that I haven’t been replying to your comments. Wel, it turns out that I’m having some sort of conflict with my browser safari. It will let me leave a new comment but won’t let me reply to others. Yes, aint technology wonderful. 😉 so, I asked lorraine and she said just to reply by leaving a new thought. But I wanted to let people know what I am doing and why. I will put your first name in the post replying to your comment. thanks lorraine. As you know I don’t like to put off pretty good while waiting for perfect, but I don’t want to cause anyone any problems I don’t have to. glad to see the post is getting comments and I’m looking forward to working with the winner. take care my friends, Max

    • says

      I don’t know what the problem is; perhaps it has something to do with the Anti-Spam plugin or maybe my new Thrive theme. I honestly don’t know. I remember, however, when I published Interview With a Blind Man that you were able to reply to others, so maybe it IS my theme. Geez. I hate technology sometimes!

      Thanks again, Max, for creating such a wonderful post. I sure appreciate you sharing what it was like to work with me on your book project! I also am happy that you have educated others regarding some of the trials and tribulations you have undergone in order to become an independently published author. You look so happy in your picture in your post where you are holding your book, and I’m darn proud of you for sticking to your guns and seeing the entire project through despite the obstacles you faced.

      I’m also blessed to know you. You are a very nice man and constantly provide me with inspiration. I love your motto “Do what you can today,” too, as mentioned in your book. I always do what I can and then I push myself even further, remembering that things are a heck of a lot easier for me because I have most of my vision. With glasses or contacts, I can see pretty good, and so when I get frustrated with something, I simply think of you and how you must feel sometimes. No, I don’t pity you, because I know you wouldn’t want that, but I do wish that things weren’t so hard for you. I commend you for all you’ve accomplished so far with both of your businesses and in your personal life… especially losing so much weight in the last few years. Gosh, I have a hard time losing ten pounds, and I wish I could lose about a hundred!

      I’ve been referred to see a doctor who does gastric bypass surgery but I have not had an appointment yet. I’m still waiting to get one. Naturally, I will let you know how all that goes. In the meantime, I’m trying to cut back on the sweets and exercise more.

      I know that if you don’t have your health, then you really don’t have much.

      Thanks again for being you, Max. The world is a better place with you in it. 🙂

  21. Adrienne says

    Hey Lorraine and Max,

    Wow, what a great share and I just “assumed” that things were rather difficult for Max to get his book completed and then published. I would have no idea what’s all involved but thank you goodness you were there to help him Lorraine.

    I ran into difficulties creating my course so I can imagine what Max dealt with.

    I think the contest is a great idea as well and I have a feeling it will be a wonderful success. I’ll be sure to pass this information along too.

    Thanks for sharing your process with us Max, I’m even more impressed now.

    ~Adrienne

    • says

      Adrienne, thanks for your comment. Yes, Max ran into a few problems, but fortunately we were able to sort them all out. 🙂

      I can imagine that you must have had a few snags with your course, too. Luckily, you know a lot of smart, techie people who were able to help you, too!

  22. says

    Hi Max and Lorraine – thanks for this description of what goes on behind the scenes. We often think that self-publishing is a simple process but you’ve shown that to do it right, a lot of work goes on and a lot of people are involved. This is great information for any new indie author – not to try to do it alone. Good stuff.

    • says

      Lenie, you are right; often we assume that things are easy for everyone, even when they aren’t.

      I know you have often felt overwhelmed as a blogger, and if you were to self-publish a book, there is no doubt that that would overwhelm you, too! Good thing that people like me can help, right?! 😉

  23. Amelia Brown says

    This is soooo inspiring! Thanks for sharing your story Maxwell. I pray that God will continue to use you to be an encouragement to others.

  24. says

    Hi Max and Lorraine

    This is so amazing and a great accomplishment. Wow! you went through a lot and I am just imagining how you felt in the process. The good news is that you came out good and with an experience.

    Congratulation and this contest is great.

    Lorraine you are so amazing and I have been following your work and see your expert skills in editing. Please be ready because I will need your services too. Lol:).

    Thanks for sharing.

    • says

      Ikechi, it’s great to see you in the comments here today. I’m so proud of Max for sticking to his guns and becoming a published author!

      Thanks for following me, too. Contact me whenever you’re ready to have me edit your work!

  25. Hi Harleena; here you are again encouraging me by leaving comments and sharing posts. You are a great friend. its a blessing to know you. and this did all start with a guest post on your site. some people can say they knew someone when but very few can say they had a hand in pushing them towards their goal. Between the ones I’ve sold, ones i gave to friends, and ones for this contest; I didn’t order enough copies of the print book. I hope to be sending you a signed copy when i purchase my next batch. thanks so much for being part of my story my friend. xoxo max

  26. says

    I am inspired and wowed, but still the thought of doing all this is an overwhelming one.
    It is so great to see the two of you collaborating again here. Good luck to you both.

  27. Hi Max and Lorraine,

    This is so wonderful, and such a nice idea to have a contest 🙂

    Yes, you’ve been through it all Max, and with wonderful friend’s around you, and an expert editor, you can never go wrong. No, I am not here to win – just here to cheer both of you for your great accomplishments, and we wish you many more in years to come (books of course!)

    Thanks for sharing this with us. Have a nice week ahead, both of you 🙂

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