Last month, Epiphany managed to emerge from the doldrums of winter and was able to track down new Author Kurt Kirton to hear about an author’s journey! Epiphany had the privilege of being a part of Kurt’s journey, and now that the project was complete, we couldn’t wait to chat with him about the last year and a half of his life.
E: Welcome, Author Kurt Kirton. We are so excited because you’ve done it. You’ve really done it. It was kind of you to add us to your Acknowledgements page. Thank you.
At Epiphany, we have entrepreneurs and business owners in one vertical, and in the second we have our Author division. When authors come to Epiphany asking so many questions. Can you remember back that far? What were some of those questions you had at the very beginning of an author’s journey?
K: First, they are probably saying, “Do I need to do an eBook or a print book?” And it’s really not too much more effort to do an eBook version if you’re already doing a print version. There’s not as much cost involved when doing an eBook either. So, why not do both? Other questions would be, how do I market my book? How much is it going to cost? Am I really going to need an editor and a proofreader? What about ISBN’s, barcodes, etc?
E: So, where did you begin?
K: With Stew Ross, who directed me to you! But before that though, I called two friends who were authors. I just asked them every question I could think of. After that, I started to dig and find answers to some of those questions.
E: When people first come to Epiphany, their first two questions usually are, 1) “How long is this going to take?” and, 2) “How much is this going to cost?” People will now begin coming to you, as you’ve completed the entire journey. They will ask those two questions of you. How would you respond?
K: I would say how long depends on how long it takes you to write the book. You need creative mind space in order to complete an author’s journey. And then there’s the money issue. I say be prepared to have an idea of what you want to spend, and be warned that the reality is you will be spending about a couple of thousand dollars if you want to do it right. Then I’d say, sit down and make a budget.
I spent probably $5,000 including a publicist, google adwords, proofing, editing, front cover design, etc. I saved money by designing the book myself… which can be about $5-10K worth of design work. You will need to add that to your budget if you do not design it yourself—and most don’t! So, call me if you need your book laid out!
E: What do you think is the most important part of the book process? For example, places an author simply cannot cut corners, a non-negotiable, perhaps?
K: I would say choosing your topic. One thing that I didn’t think about before I hauled off to write this book was, “is there an audience large enough to support this?” If you’re only going to have four people buy the thing, then the supply vs. demand balance is off and you should probably reevaluate your project and content. However, if you’re passionate enough about the topic to release a book that may only have a small audience to purchase it, do it! Hire a publicist. Speak. You sell your book when you speak.
E: What do you think really sells a book?
K: I think all those things. You need to start with your blog, though.
E: Why did you partner with Epiphany?
K: Because I’m a person who, when I do a project or I’m buying something, I like to know everything so I can make the best decision. I dont want to have missed something that I could’ve done better. So, I partnered with you so that I could know everything. I wanted to have someone I could go to for all the new questions that popped up.
E: Tell me about the process of choosing your title and cover.
K: You and I met and went to do our fieldtrip to Books-A-Million and looked at colors, sizes, photography, and illustration, etc, and I came up with a sketch. I did not show it to the graphic designer who did the front cover, as I didn’t want to skew him. I wanted him to have fresh eyes. I just gave him enough information and said, “Do something awesome.” He came back with the cover comps and they were 180 degrees from what I sketched. The illustration on the cover is extremely important. And I’m so happy with my cover.
E: What were some of the other titles you were considering?
K: Adventures in Productive Job Hunting, Kickstart Your Job Search, and I don’t remember the other.
E: How did you come to a decision?
K: I did a focus group on that. I came up with several titles and sent out 4-5 options to my blog readers. I went with the one that ranked the best. “Here Today, Job Tomorrow”. But then someone wrote an anonymous comment on that blog and suggested titling it, “Here Today, Hired Tomorrow,” and I loved it so went with it! And I still don’t know who that was!
E: How did you come up with your subtitle?
K: Actually, it was in a meeting with you. And you asked, “Just what is your book about?” and I rattled that off and we were like, “Oh! there we go, thats the subtitle!”
E: Why did you choose to go with Amazon’s CreateSpace as your Self-Publishing option of choice?
K: It was cheaper than the other options. Basically, some self-publishing companies offer a distribution program. But they are merely a broker. They basically are doing everything that I could sit there and do. It’s just they probably hold your hand a little bit more.
E: But you could have created your own Kurt Kirton Press. What made you not go that route?
K: Because I don’t know how to file for ISBNs or Library of Congress. Plus, affiliating with Yooper made sense because of their business division and the networking book they already have out there. It was a good marriage, a good partnership. It is going to help him build his stable as well.
E: What has been the hardest part of this journey?
K: Probably the writing. It took me a year and a half to write my book. Once you have the manuscript, you’re over the hump. The rest is the fun stuff.
E: How come you didn’t go with a traditional printer? Why did you choose a self-publisher?
K: I need POD (print-on-demand). There are three different routes: Self-Publishing/Print-on-demand (POD), Independent Publishing, and going with the full blown, sign a deal with a publishing house situation. I needed POD because I don’t have a big publisher, this is my first book, and I didn’t want to set up an independent publishing company. In other words, I have to sit and carry inventory. And POD is wonderful for that, its like a burger I say, they don’t make it until the customer orders it. So the customer interfaces with Amazon and orders the book and then they interface with Ingram/Lightning Source (LS) and LS makes that one book and ships it to them. I just get my cut and I don’t have to deal with any of the middle men.
E: How did you decide on your price?
K: Based on the discount issues. I did some homework on that, and found that it looks to me like they are discounting by 10% on Amazon to get more people to buy books, and I didn’t know if that factored in to my margin or not, but I assumed that it did, cause I’d rather err on the side of caution, so I bumped my price from what I wanted to sell it at, which was $15 and bumped it up a $1.49, so that if they did discount it I would at least still be getting my $15 a book. (Since then, I have learned that they don’t take the discount from my margin.)
E: Have you thought about doing the conversion for iBook?
K: No. I have instructions for people who want to purchase the book that are Apple users. They can download the Kindle app and buy my book from there.
E: Did you decide to create marketing or promotional materials?
K: I think it’s important to have a rack card, business card, promo card, a one-sheet, and then your high-resolution headshot/PDF and bio, both the short and long versions.
E: Explain to our readers the one-sheet.
K: it is an 8.5×11 informational sheet with the details about your book. The description, maybe an author bio, book cover, ISBN, where to order, etc.
E: Well if there was one or two things you would say to someone who wants to start this journey, what would you say?
K: Hire Epiphany Creative Services!
E: Well, thank you. We appreciate that. There has to be more? :)
K: Realize an author’s journey is a bigger undertaking than you think. It will cost more than you think and decide if you are really passionate about the material enough to take on this process. You also need to understand that you have to take on the post work, like the marketing and the telling people about it.
E: When you were frustrated or thinking I can’t do this anymore, what kept you going?
K: Just knowing that I had an open timeline. That I could take a break for a week if I needed to.
E: What was the highlight of the journey?
K: That proof in the mail from CreateSpace. It was like getting my MBA, I just had the biggest smile on my face for a long time.
E: We’re smiling for you too, Kurt. Congratulations on becoming a true published author.
K: Thank you!
To learn more about Kurt and his new book, don’t forget to check out www.KurtKirton.com and sign up for his blog. Or share it with someone you know who is in transition!
Kurt’s Book overview:
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1. I’ve Fallen but I Can Get Up (Chapter for the Unemployed)
2. All Systems Go (Getting Started)
3. Action! (Creating a Strategic Job Search Action Plan)
4. Ready, Aim, Fire (Targeted Networking)
5. Go Forth (Networking Events and Applying for Jobs)
6. Woo Hoo! (Interviewing)
7. Hashin’ It Out (Negotiating and Accepting a Position)
8. It’s My First Day (After You Have the Job)
Epilogue: Hope, Encouragement, and Purpose
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