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Publisher Spotlight

“Write about what you know.” So goes the saying, and for Paul Herd, that means classic cars as well as a mystery novel set in the Ozarks of Missouri.

The classic cars came first. Paul created his publishing company, PAH Publishing, based around his love of cars. For the last 31 years, he’s written, photographed and published over 30 automotive tech manuals that help collectors restore classic cars and trucks. Sales have continued to grow as new books and manuals are added to the publishing group.

Paul’s manuals are really tools that help collectors source replacement parts for their vehicles and understand the manufacturers’ complicated coding sheets.  His manuals cover some of America’s most beloved and iconic models including the Cadillac, Ford trucks, and Mustangs.IMG_0364

During breaks in his thriving publishing business, Paul, who also writes under the pen name of Thomas Mulveigh, wrote a novel called “Blood Necklace,” a murder mystery set in the Ozarks where he resides.  It’s his first fiction novel, and his second is in the works, due out early next year.

Reprint Center fills the Distribution Void

Using a combination of channels to market and promote his titles, Paul sells his books directly on his own website, http://www.goldenroadspublishing.com, and also takes advantage of PG’s Reprint Center for shortruns for shipping directly to bookstores and author events.

Paul was one of PG’s first customers to use PG’s new Reprint Center. He says, “You have made it so much easier to use, we just find our company in the list of all our titles so I don’t have to sort through endless list of titles hunting for the one I want.  I don’t need to use a different purchase order number for every title, I can have one per customer, which is much easier to reconcile in our files.”

Shipping has become easier too. Paul noted, “The biggest perk for us is we pay for shipping up front; no more guessing how much it is, so there are no surprises.”

Quality is still Paul’s main driver when it came to selecting a print vendor. “For the quality of the books we couldn’t ask for better, before that was one of the complaints we were getting from customers, now even our fiction book “Blood Necklace” sits on bookstore shelves in between those from big publishers and no one can tell it is a print on demand book.  If a bookstore wants you to do a book signing for them, the quality speaks for itself.”

PG’s new retail platform, PGDirect, is another sales channel that Paul utilizes. He benefits from a free retail listing, more exposure and visibility, and a POD model that prints and ships his books within 48 hours.

 

Dr. Bernie Unrau is a dentist, inventor, teacher, author, and screenwriter. He’s also one of PG’s most prolific authors and self-publishers, churning out an astonishing 32 novels and screenplays!  His main character, Dr. Gum, appears in many of his books, whose adventures as a gumshoe dental detective are modeled on Bernie’s vast dentistry knowledge.

Bernie’s first books were tapped out on an old typewriter before the advent of modern laptops, Google or the internet.  We wondered, with his busy dental practice, how does he write, design and produce cover artwork, promote, and market his books? Here are his replies:

 book itWhere do you get your ideas for your books?

It’s an interesting albeit perplexing process. I may find inspiration in a song, something I read or saw.  I begin to investigate, see if there’s a story there, and usually dispel hundreds of ideas. The title or a scene may arise first, then I’ll craft a story around it. I usually let an idea simmer for a while. For “Lacryma Christi,” I got the idea from an article I read last year about a doctor who’d been given a clean bill of health after working in Ebola infected areas of Africa.  Later it was discovered that he harbored the virus in one of his eyes causing a bizarre discoloration like wearing a contact lens.  Eureka! I thought what if the virus was unleashed or used as a bioweapon? How many people are potentially exposed? What’s the worst case scenario? I began to research the disease and the horrific tale slowly came together.

With your busy dental practice, how do you find time to write books? Do you have a daily or consistent creativity process?  

I learned ages ago, from the “father of the medical thriller,” Robin Cook, takes time off his practice and cocoons himself in his condo in Naples FL, for about six weeks each summer. I use a similar recipe, isolate myself in my operatory /writing office in Calgary for about six weeks and focus intensely. I begin to write early say 7 AM, continue until noon, a quick bite, and then continue oft into the evening. I average about 13-15 pages/day or up to 5000 words when I’m in high gear much like Michael Crichton did. Steven King said he averaged about 2200 words/day. The rest of the day I read voraciously, planning, researching the next scenes/locations. The story comes together in about six weeks I’ve found.  Then the arduous task of re-writing begins.

What’s your best advice for writers just starting out?

The best advice to young writers is learn to focus, which I learned from spending many years studying medicine, dentistry, eventually post-graduate implantology. A lot of time management. Find time to set aside in earnest to truly focus on your craft, even if it’s only an hour or two a day. In my case, I’d spent many a summer doing medical research, so I was accustomed to the long grueling hours of delving into a topic deeply. You need to focus, concentrate. Make up your mind, believe you can achieve your goal and you will. Never, never, give up. Where the creativity came from, God only knows. Besides how much golf or tennis can you endure in one summer?

 Who does your compelling cover artwork?

I actually design my own covers. It may be a photo from my collection or usually an interesting image comes to mind that ties the story together or may actually inspire the tall tale. I have a computer program for that. Once the cover art is complete I proceed to design the entire book, front and back, with another program. It may take a couple of days. For example, “Terra Vista” was a signed photo given to me by one of the astronauts, Dr. Georgi Grecko, also the designer of MIR, the former Russian space station after a lecture of his I attended.

PicMonkey Collage 2

Do you ever experience writers’ block, and, if so, how do you overcome it?

I rarely encounter writer’s block, because the story is meticulously researched and outlined, the characters, genre, locations mapped out, real street names and places. I oft joke about the logo for Caltex Press, an old mariner’s globe, if I spin the globe and point to a location on Earth; I’ve probably penned a book or screenplay about it. Once I begin, the actors take over, show me where to go, what they’re doing, they take me on an incredible journey each time. The story unravels in front of me much like a movie. It’s an intense process and experience because I’m so focused. I’ve had nightmares or near heart attacks while dreaming up the next scenes or waiting for an answer.

You can visit www.CalteXpress.com to learn more about Dr. Unrau’s titles.

Even though we’ve been printing for almost two decades and see hundreds of titles everyday, most of us still get excited to see nicely designed and printed books go through the plant. In our increasingly electronic world, there’s nothing quite like print: the texture of the paper, the richness of the imagery, the satisfying snap of turning pages.

So get inspired…. and enjoy this new collection of books, hot off the PG presses!  (All photos by Jeff Kulinski)

POD books in full color

Full color bleed, gutters too!

POD for art books

Lots of white space and clean layout

Hardcover books with full color

So vibrant, the hand looks real!

casebound small size POD

Small but mighty

 

POD digital book

A picture worth a thousand words

Perfect bound POD

What will your next book be?

 

From time to time we like to print comments from our customers, and this is one the nicest—if not the nicest—we have ever received.  This letter comes from Dr. Susan Swartwout, the publisher at the Southeast Missouri State University Press.   So please bear with us as we do a little shameless self-promotion!

Jounals and book printing

Journey is an annual literary journal that publishes original writing by students of Southeast Missouri State University.

I first learned about Publishers Graphics from an Illinois journal editor in 1994 when I was an assistant editor, looking for a good printer for a poetry journal. When I became the publisher of the Southeast Missouri University Press—publishing books and several journals—I continued to rely on Publishers Graphics for high quality printing at very reasonable prices. According to state regulations, I have to acquire three bidson many of our publications. Publishers Graphics consistently offers the lowest bid and is awarded the job.

Their online quote system is fantastic. Instead of waiting a week for a print quote, I have the emailed quote in my mailbox within two minutes of submitting the specs in the online form. The quotes are stored for 30 days, and the quotes that I accept are kept online so that I can easily click on the title and get a quote for reprints by changing only the quantity. The reprints are ready in a short turnaround time. This is extraordinarily convenient for keeping a small but sufficient inventory.

And did I mention friendly and supportive? I never have to wait long for an email response to a question, and I can count on Publisher Graphics associates to be courteous and always willing to help.

Beautiful books that get loads of compliments, great pricing, fast quotes, good turnaround, friendly, and great support:   I highly recommend Publishers Graphics. They’ve been a major contributor to the success of our University Press.

About the Southeast Missouri State University Press:

Southeast Missouri State University Press, founded in 2001, serves both as a first-rate publisher in an under published region and as a working laboratory for students interested in learning the art and skills of literary publishing. The Press supports a Minor degree program in Small-press Publishing for undergraduate students in any major who wish to acquire the basic skills for independent-press publishing and editing.

Recognition won by our books include the John H. Reid Short Fiction Award, the Creative Spirits Platinum Award for General Fiction, the James Jones First Novel Award, the Langum Award for Historical Fiction, the Missouri Governor’s Book Award, the United We Read selection, and the Kniffen Book Award for best U.S./Canada cultural geography.

POD, print on demand

A trio of recent titles from the University Press at Southeast Missouri State

 

Lauren Pizza is an author whose memoir Meant to Be, was recently picked up by a publishing house.  When I met her last year at the Frankfurt Book Fair, she was there checking out the publishing industry.  Lauren’s story illustrates how important it is to stay the course and use every contact and promotional tool at your disposal.  Here is her inspirational story:

I never dreamed that I would walk into a bookstore and see a book that I wrote on the shelves. Not only was it available in the “New Releases” section, but my book was surrounded by other fabulous memoirs like Lea Michele’s Brunette Ambition and Robin Roberts’ inspiring Everybody’s Got Something.

Little did I know the amount of work that needed to transpire beforehand. So after my experience, I’ve come up with a few tips to help writers just starting out.

  1. Enjoy the process of writing (while you can): I fell in love with the creative process. It was truly a therapeutic experience, and I reveled in the idea that my work would reach others. I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write a memoir, let alone that people would actually buy it.
  2. It truly is all about who you know (and trial and error): Like any other 21st century human, I Googled how to get my book published. I came back with Nicholas Sparks’ agent among others. I figured going straight to the top would work out fabulously. The name of Sparks’ agent would have been great if I actually knew someone who could introduce us. Upon this realization— as well as no responses from
    POD book printing, short run book printing

    Jersey Girl, Lauren Pizza

    those top literary agents— I then began asking everyone who might know someone in the publishing world. I was even brave enough to email the entire manuscript to James Patterson (well, I emailed his wife, and I am still waiting for that reply).

  3. Be prepared for change: Not only did the title of my book change throughout the process, but so did the focus of my book. I finally found a successful person in the publishing world when I asked my husband’s lawyer if he knew anyone. The lawyer knew someone who had written two books, yay!   But, the process certainly didn’t stop there.  
  4. Sometimes, it doesn’t hurt to take others’ advice (especially regarding something you don’t know anything about):  I sent my manuscript to the publishing lawyer and heard nothing for five weeks. By that time, I was planning on self-publishing or just shelving the manuscript and calling it a day.  Then, I received the email that changed everything.  Meeting this man was like magically finding a goldmine. He told me that I write better than Norah Ephron and that I reminded him of Erma Bombeck. He also said I had the complete wrong list of literary agents and handed me a new list, told me who to call, and what to say.  He also encouraged me to learn as much as possible about the publishing industry, and I would give the same advice to any aspiring writer looking to get published.
  5. Marketing is everything (and never-ending): When Skyhorse Publishing agreed to meet with me, I was thrilled! After 45 minutes of an amazing performance on my part, the owner of the Publishing Company said: “Yes, I will publish your book!”   From that point on, marketing took over. You can write the greatest book ever, but if it doesn’t reach anyone, then what is the point? I began by hiring a publicist and working with a PR firm. We called radio stations, recorded a song as the soundtrack for my book, and even created and distributed 30 second commercials to various networks that played during prime time viewing. All that work was maybe even harder than writing the book!
  6. Establish a “brand” along with your bookI did that with my last name. Some people might try to hide a last name like “Pizza, but since I’m from New Jersey and we take pizza very seriously, why not sell that? I sent my book and promotional materials out in a pizza box. The magazines and media companies on the receiving end loved it. After all, wouldn’t you remember a book sent to you in a pizza box? Getting noticed is about selling what is unique about you as a writer. And by getting that noticed, you get remembered. I also went all out on Social Media reach with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, U –Tube, Linkedln , etc.

What is my best marketing tip?   Marketing will always be one of the most essential parts of your writing career.   So pretend you are running for office and sell your book that way, (maybe without kissing babies and all that).

 

 

The following is reprinted from August, 2013 issue of CELEBRATION NEWS, Celebration, Florida.

Rebecca Stepusin and her father Paul started talking about writing a book together about two weeks after Rebecca, a Celebration High School student, was diagnosed with cancer.  They kept a journal together chronicling their family’s story and what they went through during the next nineteen months of her cancer treatment. Paul continued to write even after Rebecca passed away about his daughter’s inspiring attitude and the choice she made to live life and stay positive despite having cancer.

Some days Paul told Rebecca in prayer he just couldn’t write and that’s when Rebecca’s heartrebecca and spirit picked up the pen where he left off. Paul says, “It may have been my hands on the keyboard, but I believe it was Rebecca’s voice inside me who wrote this story. It’s her heart, not mine, that completed this. This book represents the fulfillment of a promise that we would write a book together…and so we did.”

As a daughter, sister, and friend, Rebecca touched the lives of everyone she knew. “People saw a genuineness in her and loved her the day they met her. When she was with you she saw the best in you, she saw best in the world.”

Her story will promise to cause you to take a look at your own circumstances in life and see that true peace and joy come from within us through faith, as Rebecca understood.

“As this our first experience printing a book, we appreciated Publishers’ Graphics support along the way.  We had lots of questions about production, and Dale Lipp was extremely helpful throughout the entire process,” Nancy Stepusin said.

The book will soon be available through the Barnes and Noble website, and you can also order it through PG’s bookstore.  Both hardcover and softcover options are available.

To order a copy of “Rare: My Daughter’s Faithful Journey through Cancer,” visit www.rarebookspc.com.

Former rhythm and blues singer and Grammy award winner Joe SimonIMG_5986 was in the PG office today, picking up his hot-off-press autobiography and signing some copies for PG employees.

The book is entitled Don’t Give Up, You Can Make it If You Try, You Can Win.  It’s the inspiring rags to riches saga of Joe Simon’s rise to soul stardom, only to eventually abandon the trappings of fame and fortune to devote his life to founding a ministry.

Simon scored his first national hit in 1965 with “Let’s Do It Over” for Vee-Jay Records.  Then he went on to perform hits such as “Teenager’s Prayer,” “Drowning in a Sea of Love,” and “Power of Love,” as well as the theme song from the movie, Cleopatra Jones. Other hits followed in the late 60’s.

After his incredible run of hits, Simon abandoned show business and established his own ministry in the southern suburbs of Chicago.

Author Joe Simon and Dale Lipp from PG

Author Joe Simon & Dale Lipp from PG

Spickum Publishing was the publisher for this 232 page hardcover book, and Dale Lipp, Project Manager at PG, shepherded it through the production process at PG.

Joe Simon was impressed with PG’s service.  He said, “I made phone calls and sent many emails to many, many book printers all across America, and ended up going back to Dale Lipp at Publishers’ Graphics, because Dale’s personality and the tone with which he represents PG is overwhelming!”

Overall, it’s a fascinating behind the scenes look at the music business as well as Joe Simon’s life.  And now Joe is well on his way to promoting and marketing his book!

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