Genesis of Man by June Austin.
Published Authors OnLine Ltd, ISBN 9780755202362.
Mind, body and spirit. Price: £14.99
I aim to offer a balanced view between science, religion and spirituality in order to demonstrate that these three can and indeed do, complement each other. The book was recently reviewed by The Self Publishing Magazine as the opposite the Richard Dawkins' best selling work The God Delusion, which certainly hasn't harmed sales!
Why did you write the book? I did not set out to write a book at all, but it sort of crept up on me. After my mother died at the end of 1999, I decided to take a year out and study crystal therapy. Towards the end of the course we were asked to write a thesis on a crystal related subject to be presented to the rest of the group. I chose to do mine on crystal skulls, as I was at that time guardian of several of these objects. The more I started to write and research the more links I began to find with other areas of interest, until it became obvious that this was to be a book.
Where did you get your inspiration from? I obtained my inspiration from a number of different sources. Initially of course from my crystal skulls, although most of the skull information has in fact since been taken out. I used them a variety of other sources, including by necessity other peoples works, as well as newspaper and magazine articles, television documentaries and science fiction programmes, and also channelled information, some of which was imparted directly through me and some through friends and acquaintances. I also travelled to France, Scotland and Egypt to gather further information and undertook two short courses via Birkbeck College in London - the history and archaeology of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia and Human Origins.
How does your book differ from others that are similar? Although it would appear on the surface at least that there are a myriad of other books covering similar ground most of them tend tio concentrate on just one area of the Genesis of Man story, and the majority as well do not have the same degree of spirituality but are written from a more scholarly angle. Because Genesis of Man balances science religion and spirituality it should appeal to all three camps, giving it a much wider potential audience.
Why did you choose POD? I went through the usual submission process with agents and publishers before deciding on the self publishing route. Out of the two options that were open to me, short print run self publishing or POD, POD was by far the most attractive proposition, as it was low cost and it also meant that I did not have to store vast amounts of books and deal with the fulfilment side myself which would have been extremely tedious, not to mention time consuming.
What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of this method? A significant amount of people still think of it as vanity press, so this is a major hurdle to be overcome. Furthermore, it is difficult to send out advance review copies when the submission process itself takes less than half this time. This means that it takes up to 6 months after publication before you are able to generate much significant publicity. The positive things though far outweigh the negatives, as POD is not only economical and eco friendly, but also the books are never out of print and therefore have a wider window of opportunity through which they can be sold. You also of course have much greater control over the end product and earn more money! A major advantage for me though was the ease by which changes can be made, as after a year it became clear that I needed to change the cover. This would have been well nigh impossible and prohibitively expensive had I chosen the other route.
How did you market your book? During the first year I managed to sell around 120 copies mostly to friends, but also through a few local book shops and by doing talks around the local area. Following some very good reviews in Self Publishing, Nexus and Paradigm Shift and an appearance on US radio, the book was accepted as Gardners Books, the UK's largest wholesaler, as a stocked title, which means that book stores can now order on sale or return. This has made a tremendous difference to sales and since August 2007, my sales have more than doubled.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome? Definitely my own hesitance and lack of confidence in regard to approaching book sellers. There is though nothing like others confidence in your abilities to get you moving (and also the very real possibility that I would have to return to a job that I hated). I have discovered that I can be very persuasive saleswoman when I need to be, and am also quite good at talking to the media and writing press releases.
What would you say to others considering POD? To research the market thoroughly and understand what it is you need and can realistically expect, and to only consider this as a viable route once you have exhausted other possibilities. Finally read the small print, understand the jargon, don't listen to the hype, and be prepared to work very, very hard!
Where can I get a copy of your book? The book is available to order from any good book shop in the UK or North America by quoting the ISBN. For a full list of stockists see my website, where you can also order signed copies via paypal. Alternatively copies are available from amazon and other online retailers, or direct from the publisher. All the links are displayed on my website as above.