John Hartness was willing to answer some of my questions about his adventures in self publishing.
KR: Why did you chose to self publish? Did you try to get The Chosen traditionally published? Why did you pick CreateSpace, and did you self publish anywhere else?
JH: I chose to self-publish because I'm largely an impatient person. I don't have the patience to query agents for months and months, then if I'm lucky enough to get picked up by an agent, to have them query publishers for months and months, then if someone wanted to publish the book, to wait a year or more to hold a copy in my hands. Self-publishing is much better for someone with a miniscule attention span :).
I queried a few agents, got some polite and some very encouraging rejection letters, and then moved along.
I published a couple of collections of poetry last year using Lulu, and moved to CreateSpace because of the ease of getting listed on Amazon (since Amazon owns CS) and the lower price on author's copies. I figure at least for a while, most of the books I sell will be face to face at book fairs, so if I can get my price per copy down, my profitability goes up. I did use Lulu for the hardcover and to get the book on the iBookstore.
KR: How many copies have you sold? What marketing has worked best for you?
JH: I've sold about 50 copies, ebook and hard copies. So far my biggest marketing successes have been through Facebook pages and book fairs. But the book just came out in August, so I feel like I'm just getting started.
KR: Who did your cover? Did you come up with the idea or did he/she?
JH: I have a great friend, Lindsay Birmingham, who did the cover to The Chosen and my new novel, Hard Day's Knight. She's a photographer and Photoshop whiz, and I gave her a rough idea and she came back to me with the cover. We tweaked font colors, and then we were good to go to print. She's been great to work with and I highly recommend her.
KR: Why did you call it The Chosen? (as opposed to The Choice, say.) There's already a very famous book with the same title, and it's not precisely similar to yours.
JH: I'm not terribly bright, and didn't Google the name before I titled the book. I was not familiar with Potok's novel, and I thought The Choice (which was the original name) sounded too much like a romance novel. I thought The Chosen felt a little like Dean Koontz's book The Taken, so I went with it.
If you'd like to know more about John and his works, go check him out at www.johnhartness.com.