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Welcome to Michael's blog. Michael Andrew, (aka Michael The Maven) is a freelance producer, photography instructor, tech innovator, and when needed, disaster aid specialist. Disclaimer: Michael is a participant in Bhphoto & Amazon affiliate programs that provides an advertising commission if you purchase through links on this website.


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08.07.11         michael's insights  

Michael's Haiti Book Update


Just wrapping up the 6th draft of the Haiti Book. I am gaining more and more respect for how hard it is to write a full length book, I've been working on this project for nearly a year now. Book writing requires a ridiculous amount of patience and consistency. I also do not think it is practical to be able to write a full length book like this without at least working on it 4-5 hours a day for a year. This is something I have learned the hard way in the process, its just not realistic to believe that if you are writing a serious narrative story that you can do so on weekends over the period of a couple months. Maybe it is because this is my first book that I am having such a hard time with it, but I am not in any hurry to start writing again, I would much rather work on something like a new DVD. I could have produced probably 3-4 DVDs over the same period of time. Despite all the careful re-reads, I am amazed to find little phrases that are easily misunderstood, or even small grammatical mistakes.

As of yesterday, all the major editorial changes have been made. I think I still have 2-3 days of little fixes here and there, but for the most part it is done. Will be working on the cover this week, as well as try to get it into the hand of a few test readers and get some more feedback. From what I have heard from the 2 people how have read it is that it is a page turner and most experienced readers will be able to go through it in 1-2 days.

I have gotten a few questions on the process of how I wrote it and it went something like this:

1. Outline Based on my Notes Taken in Haiti
2. Wrote each chapter based on outline (this alone took about 7 months). I did not write chronologically.
3. Went through it again a several times on my own until it got to a decent "readable" stage.
4. Gave it to my first test reader, she read it in one day.
5. Made revisions based on comments of test reader
6. Sent to Editor, who then made grammatical changes and suggestions. He pretty much tore it to pieces, but 90% of what he suggested was correct.
7. Read through all of the corrections and changes made by editor and approved or rejected as needed (just finished)

These are the remaining steps:

8. 2-3 experienced test readers, make changes based on their feedback.
9. Change a few names in story if I do not have these peoples permission. Delete and trim a couple paragraphs here and there.
10. Finish Cover and administrative stuff
11. Submit for publication.

(Note: I found my Editor on Craig's List, and he was very reasonable, about $700)

I am self publishing the book for many reasons:

1. Last time I checked I heard that every year 10 million manuscripts are submitted to publishers. A teeny, tiny fraction of them are even considered and even fewer are published.
2. I am more interested in just getting the story out there, by any means necessary. The book does a number of things: Raises awareness about Haiti and disaster preparedness, gives a historical perspective of the problems encountered there, and most importantly I hope it will nspire readers. A significant portion of the proceeds will be going directly to my Charity Group (more on this soon).
3. I plan to do an electronic release first, so it should be available on iTunes, Amazon or Kindle E-Book Stores. This way there is very little investment in the printing of the book itself.
4. If it does well (ie sells more than a few hundred copies), then I will self-publish an actual hard copy book. These books will be available from my own store.
5. At that point, I would approach a full publishing house. I would have much more leverage if I can say "I have already sold x number of copies by self publishing" instead of just sending them a manuscript. If no one wants to pick it up, still now worries, Ill just sell it on my own.

One major problem with going this route is that the bulk of the marketing lays on my shoulders. I am not too worried about this but to be honest I could be wrong, you just never know until you put yourself out there. It could be an enormous flop.

Looking to have an electronic release on August 31st. I will keep you posted.

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