I asked Carol Duerksen, author of Runaway Buggy, a few questions and these were her answers. Hopefully, one of your questions is answered here, but if not please feel free to leave a comment and we I will do my best to answer it and possibly even publish it here to benefit others as well.
If you are interested in a copy of her first self-published book titled Runaway Buggy just click on
Q: Why did you choose the self-publishing route?
A: We called the book Runaway Buggy. We sent the first chapters to Reiman Publications, the company that does the magazines “Country,” “Farm and Ranch Living,” “Reminisce,” etc. They expressed a strong interest in publishing the book, and we were so excited! But then, when they had the full manuscript, they told us “We don’t do fiction.”
Well, this book had been fiction all along, so what changed? We didn’t know. What we did know was that, as we began to dream of how to market the book, we almost got on the David Letterman show. We called the producer, told her about the ex-Amishman who wrote a book, and we got as far as discussing the possibility of taking David Letterman down Broadway in a horse and buggy. We didn’t make the final cut, but oh my, we had some wind in our sails, or more specifically, some fast wheels under our buggy. We believed the “almost” with the publisher and with the Letterman show was enough to do this on our own. We decided to self-publish!
Q: How would you define the difference between self-publishing and a traditional publisher?
A: The difference is control. IF a traditional publisher decides to pick up your book, (and that is a big IF), you get paid some upfront money. This gives the publisher control of your manuscript. It means the publisher can make you change your manuscript. It means the publisher chooses the cover. The publisher decides how many books to print, and if they are out of print, and you need more, that’s too bad.
The positive side of going with a traditional publisher is that you get paid something and they do the marketing.
If you self-publish, it’s your baby. You decide everything about the book. You pay for this privilege, but in my opinion, it is a privilege well-worth buying.
And who are you paying? Someone who will take your manuscript and give you a book in return. Someone you can trust to walk you through the process, step-by-step, in a professional but also personal manner. For us, that was Good Shepherd Publications.
Q: What would you do differently if you were able to turn back the clock of time?
A: The positive side of self-publishing is that you are in control. The negative side of self-publishing can be that you are in control. There are some details I would change in our books, but nothing that I can’t live with now.
One thing I would change is how many books we printed at different times. Runaway Buggy led to nine more Amish novels. We also self-published two children’s books and a devotional book. It is easy to print lots of books because that brings the price per book down. And then it is easy to have lots of boxes of books stored in garages/basements/storage units.
The advent of print-on-demand books through websites like CreateSpace solves that problem. I just have several boxes of our latest book on hand and know that I can order more when needed.
Q: How do you overcome writer’s block?
A: Swimming or biking. Chocolate. Food in general. Naps. Having someone write the book. In our last book, I was all about the plot and couldn’t come up with the details of the scenes. I have a friend who helped fill in the details.
Q: How did you come up with a price for your books?
A: We based it on books that were similar and what we felt the market would bear. We needed to make money on the books to pay for the self-publishing. All of our books, except for the Now It Springs Up Spiritual Insights for