The W Column

by John J. Miller on November 3, 2009 · 8 comments

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The spine of The First Assassin includes the title of the book and my name as author. At the bottom, there’s also a small publisher’s logo: a W with a box around it. That stands for Woodbridge Press, my own imprint.

So what is the Woodbridge Press? It’s my attempt at entrepreneurship, an opportunity that puts me in charge of every aspect of The First Assassin. I’m not only the writer but also the publisher and publicist.

The First Assassin is available exclusively online through a new print-on-demand service: If you order a copy, they’ll print one and mail it to you. My partner is CreateSpace.com, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. During this “soft launch” phase, The First Assassin may be purchased only through CreateSpace.com (here). Soon, it will also be listed on Amazon.com. (Update: Amazon.com listing here.) Those will be the only ways of obtaining copies. You won’t find The First Assassin in book stores.

When I finished writing The First Assassin, I tried to sell it to a traditional publisher the old fashioned way, as I had done with my previous books of non-fiction. Yet I couldn’t find a publisher that was willing to take a chance on a first-time novelist during the worst economy of our lives. I didn’t exhaust my options in this area, but I did start to explore alternatives.

That’s when I learned about this new approach to book publishing. It reinforced the commonplace observation that everything about the world of media is changing. I see this almost everyday in journalism. When I started working for National Review, I had not heard of blogging or podcasts. Now they’re a big part of what I do at the magazine. Or perhaps I should say “magazine,” with curly-fingered quote marks. A lot of our readers don’t even touch its pages these days.

Book publishing is going through its own transformation. There are e-books, mp3 audio downloads, and so on. The industry will look a lot different in the near future.

So I decided to try something new. This summer, I resolved not to let my manuscript languish in a filing cabinet simply because the Fates had not deigned to put it in the hands of the right editor at the right publishing house. I set the goal of publishing The First Assassin as a high-quality book as soon as possible. I’ve also assumed the responsibility of letting the world know it exists: the publicity is entirely up to me.

We’ll see how it turns out. Right now, I couldn’t be more pleased. I have a copy of the book on my desk–a reality that seemed unimaginable this spring. I must say, it’s a good-looking volume. The story inside is pretty good, too.

Want a copy? It makes a great Christmas gift.

I’ll get the hang of this publicity thing soon enough.

  • http://littlehumans.wordpress.com Mike Reed

    I’ll post a link to your book on my Facebook page. I love books on the Lincoln and Civil War era.
    God Bless,
    Mike

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  • Steve K

    I’d love to read it. Make a Kindle version available on Amazon and I’ll take a copy.

  • BobZ

    Love to read your book, great reviews but that won’t happen unless you and your publisher make it available on Kindle.
    I like the idea of print on demand, far less waste, but if you are serious about that, you MUST make it available for the e-readers.

  • http://texan-in-wisconsin.blogspot.com Bob Davis

    Hey Miller:

    Got FA in the mail today…ordered through createspace, so hopefully more profitable for you.

    As soon as I put Mitch Rapp down, Lorenzo’s next. ;-)

    BD

  • Lisa Buestrin

    1. Congratulations! I hope that you sell many books!
    2. I agree that you should release the book to be read on Kindle.
    3. Would you mind telling me approximately how much it cost you to publish your book, from start to finish?
    4. Is it historical fiction with accurate facts, events, etc.?
    Thank you.

  • http://www.heymiller.com JJMiller

    Hi Lisa: Thanks very much. Working on Kindle. Cost is hard to estimate–investment of time over many years was huge. I put a little bit of money into the cover and interior design. Once this was done, it was less than $100 to get the presses rolling. And yes, it’s historical fiction with lots of true facts.

  • http://www.heymiller.com JJMiller

    At long last, “The First Assassin” is now available on Kindle. Here’s a direct link:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-First-Assassin-ebook/dp/B00300H1YA/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2

    Enjoy!

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