Q&A on quitting your job and self-publishing

In the midst of starting my book tour for The Revelation Gate (YAY!), I wanted to answer a few questions that a few of my Facebook friends threw my way.

Q: I’m thinking about leaving [my profession] and focusing on writing. (OK, so that’s not really a question, but he wants some advice)

Smallville was my favorite TV show. If you don’t know it, it’s the story of Superman’s youth. He doesn’t fly, really, until the last episode. For someone who knows he had the ability to fly the entire time but just couldn’t (or wouldn’t) do it, that’s irritating.

Do you ever feel like life is grounding you from doing something you’ve had the ability to do all your life? Like, “I would start my business/write a book/hone my skill/go back to school, but (fill in the excuse)?”

Most investors suggest you build up at least 6 months of income before you start investing; that would exclude your start-up money. If you need a loan to supplement that, see if you can borrow from a relative and secure it with written terms you both agree to on how you’re going to pay it back. It’s easier, faster, and more user-friendly than grants, bank loans, and angel groups.

Lastly, build yourself a support group of like-minded people. There will be days that you want to quit. These people will encourage you, and keep you from doing it. You know people who are satisfied working for someone else for the rest of their lives. When you have a weak moment, AVOID those people.

Q: I need general info on publishing a non-fiction book. What should I do?

If you’re thinking about going through a big publishing house, you need an agent. You sell your book to an agent, the agent sells your book to the publisher, and the publisher then sells your book to the public. That process can take about two years and a lot of compromise to complete, so be patient.

Start with a “query” letter to an agent representing your genre. Each agent has different requirements for what he/she will represent. You can find them in books like “The Writer’s Market” and it’ll have guidelines on what a query should include. The evaluation process for a query letter can be from 1-2 months, and then another 3-6 months to evaluate a finished manuscript. Then, they sell your book to a publishing house.

If you want to self-publish, read “The Fine Print of Self-Publishing” by Mark Levine and “The Complere Guide to Self-Publishing” by Tom and Marilyn Ross. Both books spell out what you should expect from a self-publishing outfit. I will tell you this: the ones that you hear about the most are most likely the ones that take an additional cut from your percentage on the back end using wacky names like “administration fees.”

Final tip: Make sure you have the option to “take your ball and go home”; that is, take your files and go somewhere else without having to pass a bill in Congress to do it. Be blessed! And, don’t forget to check out my blog tour for The Revelation Gate starting Monday, May 30 through June 3 and June 7!

Author Brian L. Thompson is the president of Great Nation Publishing and author of the Christian fiction thriller The Lost Testament, and The Revelation Gate, due for release on June 7, 2011. You can read more about Brian by visiting his author site, http://www.brianlthompson.co.

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