BOOKS, MISSISSIPPI
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Have you ever thought of self-publishing a book?

80958-selfpublish3In a new media age, self-publishing has become the quickest way for authors to put their books on the market.

A handful have hit the big time, like Amanda Hocking, who landed a $2 million publishing deal with St. Martin’s press after self-publishing a series of paranormal e-books.

Here are some Mississippi authors who have taken the self-publishing route to fulfill their literary aspirations.

Monica Carter Tagore

The book: Scandalous Truth is about a woman whose faith is tested when her husband runs for mayor and scandalous details from her past emerge. It will be released as a mass market paperback in August.

Why self-publish? “I’ve dreamed of being a published author since working on a writing project in Mrs. Pollard’s class at Timberlawn Elementary School in Jackson,” she said.

Tagore, who now lives in Los Angeles, created her own publishing company, RootSky Books, to market her self-published work, and later landed a book deal.

“I knew it could take years to find an agent, and even if the agent found a publisher, it could take up to 24 months for that publisher to get the book out,” she said. “So I self-published and then used the strength of my self-published work to land a book deal.”

Success: Tagore has sold thousands of books and earned back her book deal advance and royalties.

“Publishing is a tough industry, and many new writers can become discouraged and even finally give up on their dreams,” she said. “So the piece of advice I would give to an aspiring or new author is this: Work your book like it’s a business. Because it is.”

Vicky Renee Johnson

The book: Mississippi Vampires is about the wealthy and privileged Jonathan Garland of Amory, whose bright future is compromised by a vampire named Ruby Leigh.

Why self-publish? Amory resident Johnson, a nurse, wanted to remain her own boss.

“I use email, Facebook, Twitter and other social media to market the book,” she said. “I have sent out over 40,000 emails. I have emailed almost every library in the U.S. and UK and numerous newspapers and magazines across the U.S.”

Success: While she hasn’t struck it rich, the money she has earned is a “nice little happy” at the end of the month.

Rashieka Sims

The Book: Things We Did For Love is a story about Teri, who has been trying most of her adult life to find a meaningful, loving relationship, despite being sidetracked by the antics of her family and friends.

Why self-publish? “I didn’t want to go through the hassle of getting a literary agent and trying to shop my book around to publishers,” said the Mississippi State University business information systems graduate.

“I have a degree in business, so I had some knowledge of marketing and promotion. I also knew the success that could be generated from the use of social media.

“I ultimately had the final decision over everything concerning my book from the cover design to the royalty percentage retailers would get.”

Success: “My sales have been steady since I released my book,” she said. “I generated a lot of sales in January by trying a method used by many self-publishers.”

Sims ran a free book promotion to get it to the top of the best sellers list. The first day, it shot up to No. 13 in the humor category of Top Free Books.

“My hope was that once I flipped it back to a paid book the sales would continue, and this is exactly what happened,” she said.

“I hope that the success that I have generated from this book will help me push for a deal with a publisher for the second book.”

Alexander Devereux

The book: Gar Fish & Long Gravy: Memoirs of Southern Sensibility is a tale about growing up in Vicksburg and the personalities that made an imprint on his life.

Why self-publish? Devereux tried to find a publisher, but all required a literary agent.

Success: His dream: “My book will be the first black drama ever to win the Academy Award for best actor in a starring role, best actress in a starring role and best movie of the year, all at the same time.”

AnDerecco Turner

The book: Love to Luv is a story about Jacob Gibson and his daughter, Monique, who come back to Meridian after the death of a loved one.

Success: While she hasn’t struck it rich, the money she has earned is a “nice little happy” at the end of the month.

Rashieka Sims

The Book: Things We Did For Love is a story about Teri, who has been trying most of her adult life to find a meaningful, loving relationship, despite being sidetracked by the antics of her family and friends.

Why self-publish? “I didn’t want to go through the hassle of getting a literary agent and trying to shop my book around to publishers,” said the Mississippi State University business information systems graduate.

“I have a degree in business, so I had some knowledge of marketing and promotion. I also knew the success that could be generated from the use of social media.

“I ultimately had the final decision over everything concerning my book from the cover design to the royalty percentage retailers would get.”

Success: “My sales have been steady since I released my book,” she said. “I generated a lot of sales in January by trying a method used by many self-publishers.”

Sims ran a free book promotion to get it to the top of the best sellers list. The first day, it shot up to No. 13 in the humor category of Top Free Books.

“My hope was that once I flipped it back to a paid book the sales would continue, and this is exactly what happened,” she said.

“I hope that the success that I have generated from this book will help me push for a deal with a publisher for the second book.”

Why self-publish? He wanted to move quickly with the book, control his work, retain rights and test the market. “Most importantly I wanted to tell my story my way,” he said.

Success: Turner has promoted his book through signings and media appearances.

“If I am known only in the Southeastern region of the U.S., I will be happy,” he said.

Randy Pierce

The book: Pain Unforgiven is a story about Grant Hicks, 37 – a partner in an Atlanta law firm, who falsely believes he has managed to escape his past and painful memories.

Why self-publish? Pierce first sought a literary agent and attended a Writer’s Digest Conference in New York to pitch the book.

“I was not successful in landing an agent,” he said. “However, because I was in love with the story and the characters, I opted to self-publish.”

Success: He printed 2,500 hardcover editions and released it as an e-book.

“I’ve sold almost all of the hardcover editions and several hundred e-books since it was released on May 10,” he said.

He’s also signed books, visited civic groups and employed others to help promote it.

“The success of the book is not tied to money,” he said.

Pierce, a state Supreme Court justice, hopes to finish his second novel, Magnolia Mud, in April. It’s a book based on a fictional Mississippi governor’s race.

–LaReeca Rucker, The Clarion-Ledger

Got a comment? E-mail me at endyanna@earthlink.com or Tweet me at @lareecarucker.

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