Today, I’m visiting with author Dave Driver about his experiences with independent publishing.
Dave says, “I should probably start with a caveat. I am much more abstract in my approach to most things I do in life than concrete-sequential. So, what you read below might resonate with abstract thinkers and not so much with concrete-sequential thinkers. I do not believe either approach is superior to the other except as where it best serves each individual. I do believe all approaches can and should be handed off to the leading of the Holy Spirit.”
Learn more about Dave at his website.
What factors did you consider in your decision to publish independently?
Learning and budget were tied pretty closely together. In any endeavor, I count new learning as one of the most precious gifts I can give myself. And when the budget is limited, there’s all the more reason to take a task on oneself. It falls under the “more time than money” but I really didn’t have more time. I just carved it out of my day—about two hours a day for several months.
Also, I decided to sell our 1964 baby blue Volkswagen convertible. That took some convincing. My wife was good with it—the bug was her family’s car from her youth—but I was trying to figure a way to hang on to both. It became an easy decision when I was faced with “keep the car or get the book published.” As it turns out, the price I got for the car is almost exactly what it cost me to publish.
What steps did you take to get yourself ready for publishing your book?
I wrote the book without learning about the publishing end. Once the book was written, I turned my attention to getting it published. I did not want to put the cart before the horse and set an artificial deadline for publishing. Well, one or two times I did. But when those dates came and went—sometimes because of me, and sometimes because of others I relied on—I decided to be completely faithful to the God I was writing about and let the process assume His timing.
When it comes to publishing a book, what do you recommend doing first and when should a writer start the process?
I recommend praying about it. That may sound trite, but I am not prescient enough to guess right as often as I am led into the right path. Quoting from The Bottom Turtle:
“I have set my mind on him [God]. I have drawn closer to him. I understand his Word and his nature more fully. I hear his voice more clearly. I now listen, oh, so much more intently to the still small voice of God. I take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, or said another way, I run every thought through the spiritual filter of the Holy Spirit and instantly am given a yes or a no. It is then up to me to obey or not. I’ve done both. Obeying works better. When I obey, I am free.’
In addition, I would recommend getting your publishing [company] name set up as soon as you know the name you want to use. I wanted to use “Heart Rocks Publishing” but it, and its many varieties were taken. So, I picked “The Bottom Turtle Publishing” with an eye toward future books. This would also be a good time to secure your websites and email names. I used GoDaddy and am happy with what it offers.
What went well in the process?
People around me. I received advice and help from many people who were excited that I was writing a book. So many of the pieces fell into place, pieces I did not know existed or needed attention. I found three good editors—critique, grammar, and line item editors—solely by asking those who had gone before me in the writing process. (I am happy to share their contact information via my website).
I contacted people I trusted rather than to rely on the internet. That way I was able to hold a high degree of confidence in those choices. Otherwise, I believe I would have put unnecessary (or necessary) worry on myself. That’s fatal to the writing process.
Asking people you know is wise advice, because, as you state, you have a high degree of confidence in the choices. I give this same advice to people looking for editors if I don’t work in their genre.
What snags did you hit and how to you resolve them?
I was not specific enough with one of my editors as to when I could expect the finished product. As usual I was looking for it yesterday when the reality is there was a four- to six-day turnaround. This is where I began to exercise patience and faith. So, a snag was a delayed time (to me) followed up by increased faith in the timing of the process.
Was it difficult? At times, very much so. I got frustrated and wanted to drop the editor. Then out of the blue, still in perfect timing, she’d drop this beautiful piece of work into my In Box. I wanted to create something I was proud to put my name on. Rushing the process, in my opinion, would not have served me well.
It appears you are selling your book solely on your website. Do you plan to make the print book available via other sites?
Yes, I do. But again, I am not rushing it. When I sell direct from my website I get a lot more money for each book, and I anticipate recouping my investment with direct sales. Granted, my volume is down, but I am also using this time to learn and to make mistakes on a small playing field. Once I exhaust the important mistakes, then I’ll move on. What are the important mistakes? I never know until I have made them and then look back. Then, as has been the case, there will be a voice in me that says, “it’s time.”
An excellent approach that I’m sure will save you money and teach you a lot about what works best for you and your books. How can writers determine if indie publishing is the right path for them?
I don’t believe I can answer that one adequately without just making stuff up. It worked for me because I determined I did not want to give up control.
But that’s a great piece of advice. Many beginning writers don’t realize how much control they will have to give up when they publish traditionally—and that includes the book title. Thanks for being here today and sharing your journey.
ABOUT DAVE DRIVER
When it came to writing The Bottom Turtle, Dave Driver believed there was more to an infinite God than what could be taught solely in church. When he found himself exploring yoga, what he discovered surprised him. Dave Driver is a teacher, yogi, and lifelong Christian. He is the father of two grown children and lives in Minneapolis with his wife Marcella and dog Wrigley.
ABOUT THE BOTTOM TURTLE
The Bottom Turtle asks, “Can you practice yoga and still be a Christian?” The answer may surprise you. Or at least the reasons behind the answer may surprise you. The book is aimed at those of us who have carried the belief that yoga and Christianity must be separate. For those Christians who practice yoga, it seeks to give them permission to be totally free from their own doubt as well as that of others. For those “others” (well meaning friends and relatives), The Bottom Turtle invites them to understand scripturally how the discipline of yoga, while maybe not for them, can be a great spiritual boost for their loved ones in their walk with Jesus.
The Bottom Turtle does this (okay, I do it) through humor and an honest look at my own failings with regard to both yoga and God’s Word. In it you’ll find dogma, judgment, goodness, confusion, clarity, and hopefully, a renewed wonderment at God’s desire that all should know His infinite love.
Purchase Dave Driver’s The Bottom Turtle here.