A Practical Look at Self Publishing – EVE QUILLIN
Ron Pramschufer: This is Ron Pramschufer, and welcome to Publishing Basics Radio, where weekly, we try to help you navigate the self-publishing minefield. Today, we’re talking with Eve Quinlan, the author of My Life in Shorts. Hi, Eve.
Eve Quillin: Good morning, Ron.
Ron Pramschufer: Quick question – what gave you the idea to write a book?
Eve Quillin: I have told my stories to all my friends for years and years, and everybody has said, “Oh, my goodness, you should write a book,” and I’m sure, Ron, that everybody in the world has been told that by their friends at some point in time. Most of them have enough sense to not listen, but I didn’t.
Ron Pramschufer: All right. Now, once you got this idea, and you decided, okay, I’m gonna bang this out; I’m gonna write a book, did you try to go to like a traditional publisher first?
Eve Quillin: Yes, I did, Ron. I went through everybody that anybody referred me to; you know, someone would say, “Well, why don’t you try this company or that company.” Also, I have a real dear friend named Anthony Summers, who is a best seller. He even tried to get his agent to take me on, and the agent wouldn’t take me on because I write short stories rather than a novel-type book.
I was about to give up when I found you.
Ron Pramschufer: All right. So, you decided to self-publish. Somewhere along the line, you figured, “Okay, well, I’m not gonna get it published any other way; I’m gonna self-publish.”
Eve Quillin: Right.
Ron Pramschufer: Normally, if a person is serious about their self-publishing, and they end up printing two, three, four, five hundred or thousand books. Okay, you didn’t have the money. You couldn’t do it, so you came up with an alternate plan. Tell me a little bit about this alternate plan.
Eve Quillin: Okay, what I did – I had 100 books published, and I paid for those; then what I did was to send a letter to everybody in my email and all the friends that I have that are not on email yet; I wrote them a snail mail letter, and I sold my first hundred books to my friends, and the whole thing is, Ron, that paid for my book. If I can find more friends that wanna buy books, they can buy them, either from me or on Amazon on one of those other companies on the Internet or in a bookstore, and we’ll talk about that.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, because that was what I wanted to talk about; the way you got into Amazon was something we call like print on demand, and the idea behind that was that you pay a little bit of money, and you get into this database, and the database was accessible by Barnes and Noble, Amazon.com and all these different, 26,000 retail stores all over the place.
Eve Quillin: That’s correct.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, so tell me a little, because the one thing that you had – I remember from the very first time talking to you; you had the tremendous ability to get publicity. I mean, the people that don’t know you here; I mean, I can tell they’ve been reading your book. You seem to know everybody in the world.
Eve Quillin: Yes, well, I have a lot of Hollywood friends. They’re always there when they need you.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, so you – I mean, the one – I’m actually looking at an article now – is like a full-page article in the Las Vegas Sun, okay, the front page of the accent section.
Eve Quillin: Yes, that was the very thing, and, of course, I’ve been in Las Vegas for around 33 years, and I’ve been a write here for all of those 33 years, so I have a lot of contacts in the media here, and the man who is now one of the big publishers though with the Las Vegas Sun is someone that I’ve known since he was not doing big things, and you kind of go up with them if they go up, you know what I mean?
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, so as far as now – what did you do – I mean, normally, you think of if you get a full-page article that, obviously, your hundred friends are easy. You give them a call; they buy a book.
Eve Quillin: Right.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, now you’ve got this article; you know the article’s coming out; the article’s nice, but you really wanted to sell books because of the article.
Eve Quillin: Well, the whole thing is I did a book signing at Waldenbooks in the Fashion Show Mall here, which is, I guess, the fanciest mall in Las Vegas . When I did the book signing, that was when the Las Vegas Sun sent somebody out to me to do the full-page article.
Ron Pramschufer: Oh, okay, well, get back to the book signing; now, how did you do – I remember a lot of pain involved with this book signing on your end.
Eve Quillin: Absolutely. Here was the thing, Ron. As a self-publisher, and this is something that I had no idea, but when you self-publish your book, you think well, they’re gonna have them in all the bookstores and so on; if you get it on Amazon.com, etc., then you find out that you can’t sell them to the bookstores because they have some kind of a deal where they won’t buy them back if they’re self-published books, so I called all the bookstores in Las Vegas, and nobody had my book in stock, and they would tell me that they couldn’t get my book.
Ron Pramschufer: Now, when you went to a particular bookstore; I mean, I remember going back and forth and back and forth and all; that when you went in, the book was available, like they could look it up on the computer and find it, but they were basically telling people that it wasn’t available, right?
Eve Quillin: Correct. That’s absolutely right. They weren’t really trying to help me sell a book, even to the point of being courteous to the people that came in and looking it up and seeing if they could get it, you know what I mean?
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, because a lot of self-publishers do this; you had friends go into different bookstores looking for the book?
Eve Quillin: Absolutely, and I called every bookstore in town, using different names about the book myself, and I was told over and over again that is wasn’t available.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, and this is like, even though it is; I mean, this, I think, is one of the problems that we hear about the whole print-on-demand in general. How did you finally end up getting Walden to do a book‑signing?
Eve Quillin: Well, I kept calling the different bookstores and asking them if I could come in and do a book signing, and finally, the little gal that was the manager at Walden’s in the Fashion Show said, “Sure, come on in.”
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, and you ended up actually bringing books in the store, right? They wouldn’t even really buy them.
Eve Quillin: No, she couldn’t buy them. She tried to buy them through Walden’s; you know, through her parent company or whatever it was. She tried to get them, but they wouldn’t order them for her from her company, and she tried and tried, so we ended up; I took my own books in there and sold my own books, and then she returned them to me through her company. In other words, then, her company had to buy them because she had sold them.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, so you got the print on demand; you bought some other books and everything; you’ve been out here; you got a lot of publicity. How many books you think you’ve sold, total?
Eve Quillin: I bought 100, and I sold all of them, and then I got a second 100 books, and I have about 50 of them left, so I’ve sold about 150 books, total.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, and then how about through the print on demand?
Eve Quillin: The print on demand; I think maybe – between 50 and 60 books on print on demand.
Ron Pramschufer: Okay, but as far as your investment though, have you lost money, broke even; you making money?
Eve Quillin: I absolutely have broken even on it. I may have made a little bit of a profit.
Ron Pramschufer: So, tell me; I mean, it’s been a little bit of a struggle, but you’ve made a little money. Are you happy with your experience with self‑publishing?
Eve Quillin: Absolutely, Ron. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. How many women, people, when they get into their middle or late 70’s sit down and wait to die? I got out there and fulfilled a lifelong dream; you know, Oprah has this dream bus that she’s going around with; well, my dream was to publish a book, and I fulfilled my dream. I don’t think there’s anything more wonderful that can happen to a person than to fulfill their dream, especially when they’re my age.
Ron Pramschufer: That’s great. Again, you’re happy? You didn’t get over your head?
Eve Quillin: No.
Ron Pramschufer: You didn’t think you were gonna be on Oprah, day one?
Eve Quillin: I thought I was gonna get on Oprah, yes, because I had somebody who knew Oprah, but, undoubtedly, they didn’t know her well enough.
Ron Pramschufer: Oh man, well, thank you very much for talking to me today, Eve.
Eve Quillin: You too, Ron.
Ron Pramschufer: For Publishing Basics Radio, this is Ron Pramschufer. See you next week.
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