Paul Wcisel graduated from Indiana University in 1993 with a degree in History. Since then his work and life have taken him to Denver, Colorado, the District of Columbia, Traverse City, Michigan and Chicago, Illinois. He has held a variety of occupations--hey, it worked for Mark Twain--including: real estate agent, bank teller, gallery guard, barista, project coordinator, museum front desk associate, digital media editor, web designer, graphic designer, interactive designer, web developer, technical director, and now--writer.
His first novel, The Sleeping Bears of Leelanau County, was independently published in December, 2019. Along with authoring the book, he did the layout, design and editing. The cover art derived from this painting.
The Sleeping Bears of Leelanau County
A secret clan of bear-people have inhabited the peninsula for millennia. Their story is the true legend.
In a remote corner of northern Michigan, the residents of Leelanau County have a secret society that has been living on the peninsula for thousands of years. They are the bear-transforming descendants of tribes who crossed Lake Michigan millennia ago to escape the destruction of their clan.
One evening, a traveler has a chance encounter with a spirit bear and discovers he has a hidden history of his own. In the months that follow, he becomes deeply involved with the Sleeping Bear Clan and—depending on your point of view—a murder.
From the Author
"I got the idea for this novel while driving back to Chicago from Traverse City. I was thinking about taking a trip out to one of the Manitou Islands when the idea of the Sleeping Bear legend being something entirely different started to take form. The story involves all things Michigan and the places and locations I enjoy visiting whenever I can."
Locations featured in the book
The Wooden Nickel Bar - Marquette
The 906 Bar & Grill - Marquette
Foggy's Steakhouse - Christmas
Muldoons Pasties - Munising
Legs Inn - Cross Village
J&S Hamburg - Traverse City
Sleder’s Tavern - Traverse City
Side Traxx - Traverse City
Earthen Ales - Traverse City
The Workshop Brewing Co. - Traverse City
Mackinaw Brewing Co. - Traverse City
Cedar Tavern - Cedar
Hop Lot Brewing - Suttons Bay
Dick's Pour House - Lake Leelanau
Anderson's Market - Glen Arbor
Fishtown - Leland
South Manitou Island
Alligator Hill Trail
Clay Cliffs Natural Area
Kehl Lake Natural Area
A Story About Self-Publishing
February 4, 2020
Congratulations. You've written a book.
Step 1: Make sure you get it professionally edited! You will be way too familiar with the content to be capable of doing this well on your own.
Step 2: Get published. The easy solution is to hire a publishing company. They can handle the cover design, layout, initial promotion, and assembly of the manuscript files for publication. The alternative is to self-publish.
Self-publishing means print-on-demand through Ingram Content Group (simply called Ingram). Your books are printed only when they are ordered. There's no warehousing necessary.
Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) vs. IngramSpark
For book sales there are two markets: Amazon & Kindle vs. Everyplace Else & Other eBook Readers (Bookstores, libraries, Nook).
However, you can reach each market through either platform. I tried out both.
Options: Paperback, Kindle.
Marketplace: Amazon.com with option for expanded distribution to the Ingram network of retailers.
Extra: KDP Select. A very restrictive agreement for your eBook to be sold exclusively for Kindle in return for a much higher royalty.
Amazon's KDP is amazing, fast and simple to use. Their free Kindle Create software makes editing the eBook version of your manuscript a snap. It's free to enroll. You can upload revised manuscripts and covers at no extra cost.
Options: Hardcover, Paperback, eBooks to all platforms except Kindle.
Marketplace: Ingram network of retailers, opt-in option for Amazon.com.
Extra: If your book requires durability like a children's book, use this service.
IngramSpark's interface was easy to use but not as intuitive. You have to find a separate program to assemble your eBook. Enrollment is $49. Revised manuscripts and covers cost $25 to upload (see Step 1 note about editing).
Both platforms offer free ISBNs. This is fine if you plan to use just one platform or the other as the gateway for self-publishing your book.
An ISBN is unique to each edition and style of a book. For instance, you would need four separate ISBNs if you were publishing a hardback, paperback, ebook, and audio. They are simply identifiers.
By using a free ISBN, you're essentially saying "Amazon is my publisher" or "IngramSpark is my publisher" and I don't intend on distributing this version of my book through a different vendor. They do NOT own your book. You do.
So, go ahead and use that free ISBN provided for your first edition. If you want to use a new publisher, or push to multiple platforms in the future, then buy a new, unique ISBN for that next edition. Besides, if you were to add a page of reviews, an introduction, tweak the subtitle, or substantially revise the content—you'd need a new ISBN anyway.
Royalties & Summary
The variation in royalties seem like they'd balance out in the long run. You can read about those in detail here.
Promoting Your Book
Regardless of your approach, you'll need to get the word out. Set up a web site. Use social media. Send out emails. Contact local stores. Hand out signed copies. Create business cards and flyers through VistaPrint. Join bookclubs. Ask for reviews. Sell at regional craft fairs.
If you need broader marketing, then consider hiring a publishing company in order to access their established network.
Self-publishing through Amazon KDP or IngramSpark really depends on your market. If you think most of your sales will come through brick and mortar bookstores, then use IngramSpark. If you think most sales will come through Amazon, then by all means use that.
You may discover that your local bookstores absolutely loathe Amazon. That's understandable to a point, but the reality is Ingram is just as big a corporate monster in the world of publishing. I remember when Amazon sold only books and was a welcome relief to the stranglehold of big box retailers like Barnes & Noble and Borders that, in many ways, were far more detrimental to the independent booksellers than Amazon ever could be.
So, Go Ahead And Do It
Some people view self-publishing as being amateur. I think it's pretty rock-n-roll. After all, it worked for Ben Franklin and he's on the $100 bill.