Crash Landing into Self Publishing: How The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide Was Born

September 17, 2012


The title pretty much sums up how I entered into the publishing industry–namely self publishing. I tried to do my homework before entering, but no one I knew offered any help and I didn’t have or knew how to find information like I do today. Most of the info I knew back then was about traditional publishing–old and outdated. Basically it’s like trying to implement how to repair an Atari onto a PS3.

With barely any knowledge or where to find more, I took the plunge, but into hostile territory–aboard the plane.

My first publisher was a shark–not just any shark–a bull shark. These sharks are notorious for attacks because they come into fresh water where hapless swimmers are, and they naively believe they’re safe from all sharks because all sharks are supposed to ocean dwellers right? Here is an analogy story about how the book came to be.

I was enticed by this rich man to go on an expedition. Excited, I board the plane. It sounded like a glorious adventure. The ticket was very expensive. During the plane ride, this rich man offered me something that looked good and tasty, but this persimmon was unripe. My mouth went numb and I couldn’t swallow. I thought I had been poisoned and that I was going to die. He offered me other stuff that looked good, but judging from my prior experience, I was dubious. I grabbed me a parachute and bailed. Anywhere was safer than here. Would I be dead if I stayed? Would that next thing be fatally poisonous?

I land in the middle of nowhere with nothing but the clothes I had on. No lighter, no pocket knife,  no survival kit. Nada. Lost and completely starving and at my wits end, I just start walking. I come up on a small camp in the distance. Are they friendly? I hope they don’t try to poison me too.

After talking with a few of the villagers they point me to their leader who had been out of the wilderness but returned to help others find their way. Everyone seemed friendly. The leader gave me the same fruit but it was a different color. Surprisingly it was sweet and tasty. “You eat persimmons when they are this color. Here is some other stuff that is safe to eat. You must learn to forage and find your own way. There are a lot of others who are lost out here. You are welcome back if you are back in these parts.”

I go on my way in what seemed to be a good direction. I take what little I had been taught and I find other good food. I learn how to find and make things. I have a nice little stashpile of tools and other stuff. I even make me a bag to put it in. I met other people and tribes. I was in and out of different tribes, but kept in contact with others. Thinking that everybody probably already has a lot of this stuff already, I don’t really share unless I run into someone who needs a hand.

One day, I find my way back in the vicinity of the leader’s camp. I come inside to chat. I show him my bag of stuff. Some of it is unique. He hands me a pen and paper to write down what I had learned. Not thinking much about it, I do this. The leader of the tribe says there is a need for this. You need to share this with other people.

I go out again and gather even more tools and information and come back again to add to the notes and stockpile.  I add more pages to the stack of  papers. Right now the makeshift book is being stitched together for me to carry around to others to see. It’s  not all in my head any longer.

I find even more new tribes to connect with and reconnect with other friends I have made. Not only did I survive in the wilderness, but I am making it alright. I would like to return to civilization just to see how much it has changed, but I seem to be thriving here with all my friends.

The book from this story is called The Newbie Author’s Survival Guide. This story is basically how I have viewed my self publishing journey. Being lost in the publishing world feels like being lost in the woods–I’ve been here a few times, but I still would make it home. It doesn’t make the experience less scary or serious.

There are quite a few self publishing manuals out there. Most of them speak of self publishing in the terms of business and the business model which is good. There is a section of the book that speaks a little about this, but how does it help you “survival”.

Being an outdoor sportsman and spending most of my life in the woods and taking a college survival skills course (which was a breeze since I grew up in the woods) I write this book in that perspective. To my knowledge I haven’t seen a marketing guidebook that compares book marketing to survival skills.

The book will be constructed and packaged just like an outdoor survival manual. And just like a survival manual it doesn’t have everything you need to know and have in it. It has a lot but there is always more to find.

The book will be coming soon. But for now, I hope you enjoyed the story!

AK Taylor

About the Author

AK Taylor

AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.

Follow AK Taylor: