I first became aware of the impressive depth and breadth of work that Stephanie Chandler was doing when she was a fellow speaker for a major online event aimed at self-publishers.
Interested by her talk, I visited her website and learned of an organization she’d founded: the Nonfiction Authors Association. I’d never heard of it before but was thrilled that it existed.
I saw a menu link for local chapters, then scanned down to see that Dallas had a chapter, but it was looking for a leader.
A few months prior to that moment, I’d made a New Year’s resolution to be less introverted. As a work-from-home editor and writer, it’s far too easy for me to remain in front of my screen. Plus, I wanted to meet more local writers and become a better public speaker.
I applied to lead the group, I was accepted, and then I tapped Clay Morgan to help me out. He would be the extroverted yin to my introverted yang. Together, we’ve hosted almost two years of meetings.
During that time, I learned much more about the hundreds of benefits of joining the NFAA. And, as a leader, I was glad to have access to Stephanie.
When she recently released her latest book, I had to interview her about.
It’s one of those books that I wish I would have had years ago when I’d first started self-publishing my books. But, whenever my next book comes out, the Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan is definitely going to be open on my desk.
Why did you and Karl feel the need to write The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan?
Several years back, Karl wrote a book on self-publishing. He did it because friends kept asking how to do it, but he’s not really submerged in the publishing industry so the book was never a key focus for him. I’ve been answering publishing questions for years, and it occurred to me that I have a lot to say about how to produce a high-quality book. And considering I lead the Nonfiction Authors Association, it’s a book I probably should have authored years ago.
Karl and I have been in a business mastermind group together for at least a decade, so he’s a dear friend who I greatly admire. One day I reached out and asked if he’d like to collaborate on the book, and he didn’t hesitate to agree. We’ve always wanted to find a way to work together.
The truth is that Karl emailed over his years-old manuscript, and I reworked it–a lot. I had a long list of topics I wanted to cover, so I reorganized the content and wrote all new content–for probably 75% of the book. Karl covers technical topics really well, so you’ll notice his voice in the chapters about things like copyright protection and ISBN registration. In the end, I think we complemented each other well with this project.
Why did you self-publish?
Well, the book is about self-publishing, so I never even considered another option. But, I also left traditional publishing behind many years ago. I grew frustrated with the lack of control over my work, not to mention the lack of support from the various publishers I worked with. I was doing all the work, while they reaped most of the rewards, and that didn’t feel right to me.
I started my own publishing company back in 2008–Authority Publishing. We’ve offered hybrid publishing services exclusively for nonfiction books ever since, and I don’t plan to change my own publishing course anytime soon. It’s just too empowering to do it all on my own.
Why did you intersperse interviews with nonfiction authors throughout the book?
All of my books have included real-world interviews because I think they add so much value to the content. Readers can learn about concepts, like publishing niche books or getting booked as a speaker, and then they can hear from real people who’ve turned those ideas into successes. I consistently get great feedback on the interviews included in all of my books, so that will always be one of my top priorities for the books I write.
[Disclaimer from Blake: This was not a wholly selfless question. I’m one of those interviews.]
What do you hope a reader will take away from The Nonfiction Book Publishing Plan?
I love this question. I hope that readers feel empowered to go out and make the publishing decisions that work best for them, and that they also finish the book feeling like they have a solid plan for moving forward. The publishing industry can be incredibly overwhelming. My goal is to break it down into steps so that it’s much easier to make solid decisions and produce high-quality books.
I want authors to know that they can create their own success!