I arrive early at Nona’s Homemade for our meeting. When Tom strides in—tall, confident, two copies of his self-published book in hand—I ready my questions. “Tell me your self-publishing story,” I say.
Tom Donahue, a correction officer, co-owner with his wife of the ice cream shop Nona’s Homemade, and father of four, has somehow had time to write and publish Fraternal Bonds. And he did it without any special “in” or prior knowledge about, or experience with, the publishing process.
Listening to someone’s experience live is different from reading about it. As the minutes fly by, Tom talks book and Kindle sales, brick-and-mortar bookstore visits, reviews, book signings, Facebook, and other marketing avenues he is pursuing. He is revved up. His enthusiasm is contagious.
I am especially intrigued by his use of Facebook to pinpoint his audience. Who knew you could use this social media tool to search for groups and organization—in his case, correction facilities nationwide that might be interested in his crime novel?
Being a step-by-step person, I bring Tom back to the pros and cons of CreateSpace.
He recounts some issues he had with the editing and proofing, but admits the problems may have been partially due to his unfamiliarity with the process. Uploading files and what he calls “formatting,” which I interpret to be interior (book) design, proceeded seamlessly. And cover design, which he chose to farm out to a friend, also went smoothly.
Having no photos in his book, Tom can’t answer how CreateSpace handles these. He assures me, however, that in his case the contact person was helpful and spent a generous amount of time addressing Tom’s concerns as a new author and will undoubtedly do the same for me.
“Just call them,” Tom says. Which is what I plan to do—as soon as my head stops buzzing with this barrage of information. And as soon as I decide whether I’m OK with a paperback rather than a hardcover book, because CreateSpace doesn’t handle the latter.
After he hands me my signed copy of “Fraternal Bonds” and I thank him for his time, Tom says, “And now, how about some ice cream to take home with you?”
Do you know anyone who says no to the best ice cream ever? What a treat.
We can learn a thing or two from Tom’s web site, too. He displays the book, provides a detailed overview and a few extended samples, with cute headlines such as “Meet Detective Melanie Leary.”