Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harmonious Environment – A Green Author's Self-Publishing Success

I'm in touch all the time with authors and wanna-be-authors and hear quite often stories about the challenges and difficulties of getting your work out there. Some decide to self-publish, and then of course need to address the distribution and marketing part as well. Many struggle. That's why I took special notice when I read on Norma Lehmeier Hartie 's blog that her book, titled “Harmonious Environment” is the new grand prize winner of the “15th Annual Writer's Digest International Self-Published Book Awards.”

So what makes a green, conscious, self-publishing success? An interview was in order!

Q: Norma, what is the most unique thing about your book?

The variety of subjects found in one book.

Part I explores how to get rid of the negative energies in the environment, which includes the toxic products in homes and how to remove unseen negative energy. It includes information on natural and organic food with recipes and natural body care products.

Part II teaches how to trust intuition to create a beautiful home that vibrates with loving, positive energy and how discover how to manifest your dreams and aspirations.

Part III serves as the confidence booster for those who may still be shy about their undeveloped talents as a designer. The section also pulls together the entire book for a greater understanding of how all the principles in the book are interconnected.

Part IV lists hundreds of resources to help make a harmonious environment.

Q: Who is your book aimed at?

The Cultural Creatives who are roughly one-third of the American population.

Cultural Creatives are those who:

  • Love nature and are concerned about its well-being.

  • Care about both psychological and spiritual development.

  • Want to be involved in creating a new and better way of life in our country.

  • Are concerned about what the big corporations are doing in the name of making more profits.

  • Are seekers of knowledge and information.

  • Are authentic.

Q: Who would benefit most by reading it?

Anyone who wants to improve their life and/or the health of the planet.

Q: What do you think appealed most in your book to the judges in the contest?

I only have one judge’s critique so far, and this is what he wrote:

"This is a beautiful looking, very well organized and thoughtfully written book. The author obviously has thoroughly done the necessary study/homework as she writes with an authentic voice, one of experience. The cover is especially lovely, evenly designed and inviting to the potential reader to open the book and go further. In reading we can only be inspired to beautify our lives, make the necessary changes that would make us happier, healthier, more at peace—on a personal, group, community or global level. I found myself drawn in to clean out my cluttered basement and give things away, as well as to get out my pendulum again for special use, and to be more conscientious about my cleaning products or home purchases. The benefits for clearing out, cleaning, and adjusting energy are explained succinctly and reasonably, and these tips are therefore encouraging and convincing. A lovely book to keep and refer to often. So many answers therein – if lots of people would accept this wonderful holistic approach."

Q: Tell us a little bit about the process you went through in order to
self-publish this book? Did you chose it or did you try and interest
publishers first? How long did it take?

I first tried to get an agent and then a publisher. In hindsight, I sent out proposal too early, as book was not fully developed. I read The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Tom and Marilyn Ross and The Publishing Manual by Dan Poynter and decided to do it myself. If you are considering self-publishing, these are must-read books! From editing to finished book, it took about 5 months.

Q: Many of our readers are authors or aspiring authors, and self publishing is obviously on their mind. What was the most difficult part of self-publishing?

The painstaking process of reviewing edits and accepting/deleting them.

Q: What was the most fun part?

Seeing the book for the first time…Seeing the book for the first time in Barnes & Noble.

Q: Is self-publishing worth it from your experience?

I cannot imagine not having (self)-published. It was definitely worth it.

Q: What are the advantages and disadvantages that you experienced?

The chief advantage I experienced was the freedom to create my own cover and interior and decide on what got edited. When you self-publish, you are the boss. Disadvantage is money has to be spent before any books are sold.

Q: Who did you work with to accomplish it all?

I hired an editor, book designer, book producer (printer), a librarian for the cataloging-in-publication data and a POD printer for galleys.

Q: Did you take any special "Harmonious" steps in the book publication?

I printed on partly recycled paper and used non-toxic ink. Most of the writing was done on computer with little printing of paper.

Q: Many excellent books are self-published, but only a handful get the notice they deserve. Do you have any tips to our readers who aspiring self-published green/conscious authors on how to bring their book to the publics' attention?

Through the media—get reviews, quotes in articles, write articles. Write a blog and post on other’s blogs. Become a speaker. Sign books/talk in bookstores, libraries or anywhere else you can. Join appropriate yahoo groups and contribute. Read books on publicity and public relations for new ideas. Join Yahoo’s Self-Publishing Group for support and to learn about the business.

Norma will be will be teaching a self-publishing workshop on December 1st at 1:00 at the Hendrick Hudson library in Montrose, New York.

Eylon @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: Plant a tree for every book you read!