Robert J. Emery's Blog
My entire 40-year career was spent writing, producing and directing TV commercials, documentaries, corporate films, seven motion pictures, and over 140 hours of cable network programming, which, I’m happy to say, garnered me over 75 industry awards. I wallpapered my office with them (just kidding). In 2006, after wrapping up a 4-hour mini-series for PBS, a 91-episode series for Starz/Encore, and a one-hour primetime special with Lester Holt for MSNBC, I retired from production, took a deep breath, and began writing books, something I had always wanted to do but never found the time for. A one-hundred and twenty-page screenplay was the most longform writing I had done up to that point so there was a bit of a learning curve. Since then I’ve had seven books published—five with two traditional publishers (one novel, four non-fiction), and one coming in early 2021.
I self-publish The Autopsy of Planet Earth because I was not pleased with the lack of support from the two traditional publishers I had worked with. I assumed other publishers were the same unless your name was James Patterson. That’s when I took the self-publishing plunge. I’m pleased to report that to date The Autopsy of Planet Earth has won five book awards.
To be clear, I have no ax to grind with self-publishing. It has opened the door to aspiring authors who might not have found an agent or a traditional publisher willing to take a chance on a newcomer. Self-publishing has provided avid readers with many fresh voices. You never know who the next John Grisham might be.
When I was ready to publish my last novel, Midnight Black, I decided to change editors. The one I had been working with left me wanting more than I got back. On a recommendation, I hooked up with Austin, Texas based editor Jennie Rosenblum (www.jenniereads.com ) and self-published that novel. Next came a non-fiction political book that Jennie also edited (she’s now editing my fourth novel). In the course of editing the political book, Jennie, along with Claire Perkins of Book Talk Radio, mentioned a group of writers—35 and counting—who had banded together under a newly created publishing banner—Indies United Publishing House (www.indiesunited.net ) based in Quincy, ILL. I looked, I liked what I saw, and I signed on. Early in 2021 I will release my second book with IUPH with a third to follow.
Anyone who has self-published knows how ongoing promotion is at best a daunting task and time consuming to the point of distraction when we’d rather be writing. Even with my advertising, film, and TV production background, when I was self-publishing, I found marketing a book to be a huge learning curve. Unlike the younger generation that made their entrance into the world with their arms wrapped around a computer, I’m clumsy at best navigating the complicated, sometimes mysterious, Internet. It is crowded with many pitfalls and misinformation from so-called experts willing to help authors become the next Steven King… for a price. It seems every week I receive an email from some web site promising to boost my books to the top of the ‘Best Seller’ list… for a price. Some of them are good PR sources, some not so much. Buyer beware.
If we have a ghost of a chance of reaching potential readers, a well-planned launch is a must—Indies United Publishing House provided that in spades as well as excellent ongoing promotion once the book was out there. Indies authors can reach out to publisher Lisa Orban day or night and expect a quick response. Lisa only has two speeds—fast and faster. I’m pleased to report the political book I published with Indies United has made Amazon’s top 100 best-selling books in the category of political humor three times since its 2019 publication.
Publishing on your own is hard for the reasons I stated, and this is where Indies United comes in. They shouldered a chunk of the burden for me so I could devote more time to writing. Isn’t that the end goal of every author? When signing on with Indies United, there’s no upfront fees other than the cost of ISBN’s (very low) and a small yearly fee for group advertising. They don’t take a cut of book sales—remittances go from Amazon and other book sales sites directly to authors. Too good to be true? Check them out for yourself.
In closing, consider this old adage: “If you do what you always did, you get what you always got.” Since joining Indies United, I am free to write knowing that when I finish a book, I have a publishing company that is working hand in hand with me for me.