Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On Becoming a Self Published Author

Because of the self-publishing discussion taking place on several blogs, I wanted to make a few comments. I am never involved in any author's efforts to self publish, but there are some authors who benefit from this process. Case in point is my uncle, Eldridge Bagley.
You can visit this link to read a little about him.

In case you're wondering, I call him Eldridge rather than Uncle Eldridge because he is like a brother to me. Eldridge is a self-taught artist based in Southside Central Virginia. The subjects of his oil paintings are unique to a certain lifestyle, time, and place in that area. He still lives with his wife and son on the same farmland my grandfather bought, using a loan from my great-grandmother, back in the 1930s. His paintings are usually nostalgic, showing glimpses of rural Virginia life in the mid-twentieth century. Since I'm from this area and my parents and other relatives still live there, (I am writing this just before going back to celebrate Daddy's birthday), the scenes Eldridge paints hold a special place in my heart even though many depict events that took place well before my birth.

Eldridge has published several books that are a natural extension of his work. I believe most people who seek out his art and books are:

1.) Eager to recapture their own memories of life on a family farm in Southside Central Virginia;
2.) Interested in the history of Southside Central Virginia;
3.) Collectors of his style of artwork; or
4.) Those with immediate ties to our family and/or the area.

Except for the third group, which includes art collectors worldwide (I understand a person in Switzerland bought one of his paintings), you can see that Eldridge's loyal audience is within driving distance of his house. He can reach them through relationships with local merchants, through art shows he attends himself, and the gallery that represents him in Richmond, Virginia. Here is the link:

Eldridge will never make the New York Times Bestseller list with his books, but since he can reach almost all of his defined audience on his own, he is what I would call a successful self-published author.
Eldridge also enjoys the fact he can control the content and covers of his books.

In light of seeing Eldridge's success firsthand, my advice to authors considering self publishing is to define your audience, and determine the best way to reach that audience. If self publishing is the best way, investigate the best company and process for you. Consider initial expense and level of editorial support. Don't depend on marketing support.

Whatever you decide, we at Hartline wish you the very best.

Until next time,



Jeanette Levellie said...

This is a hot topic right now. I'm glad you are addressing it, Tamela. Thank you, and have fun at your Daddy's bd party!

Audience of ONE

Millie Samuelson said...

Encouraging comments for a self-published author like myself! Thanks, Tamela! And now I'm going to check out Eldridge's books. . . :-)

Millie Samuelson said...

PS -- WOW, do you know that several of your uncle Eldridge's books are selling for over $100 on Amazon?? :-)

Tamela Hancock Murray said...

Millie, I had no idea! I'm going to let him know right now.