I've been hesitant to share what happened with the publishing of my book (It's Life Jim...) because, well, just because I feel like an idiot really.
I chose to use Xlibris to publish, as they are a division of Penguin and Random House. They are well established companies, been around for a long time, and thought I couldn't go wrong.
I was wrong.
They offered an amazing selection of services to promote/market my book, all at premium prices. I was prepared to spend the money though, because I'm passionate about what I'm doing. I scraped together $4000 through donations and my own savings, for a range of services. They then offered me the deal of the century - New York Times literary section, book review, advert and radio interview for another $4000!
Too good to turn down, and a friend offered to lend me the money. But it turned out that the real price was $16,000 (four monthly payments of $4000), and the sales rep had neglected to inform me of this minor detail. Long story short. it took 6 months - yes 6 months!! - to finally sort out the mess, meanwhile we had missed the opportunity of a lifetime to promote my book through all the international media attention I received from a nasty piece of hate mail (thank you Logan Robertson).
Instead of taking a refund of the $4K, I foolishly reinvested it into another service they offered, thinking I could recoup the losses. But no... after getting a place in 4 major book-shows through the US, they informed me that to get real results I needed to be at the shows to personally promote it, and they weren't going to cover the airfares, lol.
So I got screwed over big time. Even the basic services, I've since found out, I could get for a fraction of the price if I'd researched more. I was stupid - sucked in by hype.
Sales trickled along - enough to help promote Silent Gays and keep me alive - but nothing like enough to actively promote the book, and pay back loans.
So there you have it. Go on, say it... "Jim, you're a sucker". Yes, its true!