What I Learned about Book Publishing and Marketing

In 2004, I was forced into retirement due to disability. At age 51, I had to step away from a rewarding university career. Being of somewhat sound mind and having the ability to type on a laptop, I decided to start writing again.  I had been published in 1986 for a non-fiction book called Job Seeking Skills for Students.  And, I have no other talent.  My math skills are deplorable and I’m dangerous with tools.  Therefore, in my barely-sane mind, this created the possibility of being published again. But, could I be published for fiction, which was my desire?

After three years of prodigious research and effort, I produced an epic work of historical fiction, called Jacob’s Courage: A Holocaust Love Story (2007, Mazo Publishers).  During this time, I discovered that almost two entire generations of my maternal extended family had perished in the Holocaust.  Of seven siblings, only my grandfather survived.  His brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews disappeared under Nazi rule.  This intensified my efforts and I decided to produce the book in their memory. 

The next stage of my life was devoted to learning everything that I could about publishers, book publishing proposals; locating and contacting publishers and then marketing my book.  I also discovered that I required something called an “author platform” and a “video book trailer.”  This was news to me and an eye-opening experience.  I thought that I could address only a few of the publisher’s submission guidelines and swiftly obtain a contract.  I thought that I could throw together a bio and some sections of my book and then publishers would rush to accept it.  Boy was I wrong! 

What follows is a brief description of the finished product, followed by step-by-step instructions for being published.  I follow no publishing guru. I adhere to no system.  If I can impress any single feature upon you, it is the need to give the publisher exactly what they demand in a proposal (or give an agent everything that they demand in a query letter) and then to be very patient and committed.  I had to contact dozens of publishers in order to generate four solid contract offers.  The last offer turned out to be the best one.  Had I selected an earlier contract offer, I would have missed out on the best match for my novel. 

There are some very good reasons to self-publish, especially for non-fiction.  But, if you want a traditional publisher, never accept your first offer; wait for the best offer.  And, feel free to negotiate terms of the contract.  You have every right to make it meet your needs, as well as the publisher’s needs.  

Before we continue, here is some information about my novel:

Jacob’s Courage is a tender coming of age love story of two young adults living in Salzburg at the time when the Nazi war machine enters Austria. This historical novel presents scenes and situations of Jews in ghettos and concentration camps, with particular attention to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz. It explores the dazzling beauty of passionate love, powerful faith and enduring bravery in a lurid world where the innocent are brutally murdered. From desperate despair, to unforgettable moments of chaste beauty, Jacob’s Courage examines a constellation of emotions during a time of incomprehensible brutality.

Video Trailer for Jacob’s Courage:




8 thoughts on “What I Learned about Book Publishing and Marketing

  1. Oh My God! Sir I am deeply moved and overwhelmed. I hope my heartfelt hug does reach you Sir.

    My apologies that I read your blog just today although I should have read and done my homework earlier as I had promised. Its just taht the daily din of survival gets onto you. I have just seen the video of Jacob’s Courage and I do hopew someday I can earn & buy it myself to read.
    Thank you so much for such useful tips and encouraging words coming from such a well versed and experienced person. I liked the way you have written and tackled the ‘issue of the holocaust’. My knowledge is limited to the History text books I have read as a kid. But I do vividly being affected n crying after seeing movies like ‘Stalag 17 and other WW2 movies. I do hope I get to read your book someday.
    I can understand and feel the pain what you must have gone through. I myself was stricken & bed ridden for almost a year n half ion my prime and it was my poems that I would furiously jot n pen down that helped me survive the mental n physical agony I had then. I had an almost NDE (near death experience) and I can still feel the warmth of God’s presence (supreme energy or Shakti Maa – mother of energy ) that I had felt then – I had almost passed out nmy hands were paralysed for almost some few minutes till my husbands cries brought me back.

    I’m sorry, my words do not mean to pain you in any way. ( I still have a back problem n hate the MRI machine !! and am not supposed lift heavy weights.)
    But beyond all this, one thing that I learnt was of ‘Life and being alive’ – these are two very sacred, precious words to me and ‘being able to contribute Myself’ towards this Life and living are the reasons for everything.

    Inspite of so many problems of your own – you still pen n write and help others – I really do appreciate your guidance and am grateful for your help & valueable advice.
    I am trying my hand on wordpress & have created a http://www.poetry4soul.wordpress.com blog. Its still in a rough nascent stage with lots more to be done on it. I do hope I can get it going properly.

    Please keep in touch & stay helathy.
    Lots of hugs & best wishes,

    Best Regards
    Madhavi Sood
    (from the Linked in forum for Writing)

  2. Thank you for all the effort, time, and expense you invested making this information available to new authors like myself. (Notice that I didn’t say “young.”) Retirement finally gave me the chance to write my first novel (and, like you, minor works of mine had been published previously).

    Incidentally, your marketing earned at least one sale. I just purchased Jacob’s Courage and my wife and I are looking forward to reading it.

    • Thanks so much for your kind words, Jack; and even more so for purchasing Jacob’s Courage. I hope that you enjoy it (and that you will drop a few words about it at the book’s Amazon and/or B&N page). My journey into publishing was an eye-opening experience. I had no idea how to construct a publishing proposal or how to approach publishers and query agents. I could only assume that several million other novice authors were in the same circumstance. If recording my journey can help even one other author, then all of the effort will have been worthwhile. Thanks again, Jack. And good luck in all of your endeavors.

  3. Always the eternal victim? Getting old and the people are catching on to Zionist con games.

    Hey, why not write about another holocaust, the Jewish Bolshevik led butchery of 20 million Russian peasansts and Christians who would not bow down to Communism or Zionism?

    Then do some research on who was the greatest mass murderer of the 20th Century. Nope, it wasn’t Corporal Shickelgruber, but a Russian Jew,Genrikh Yagoda.

    But Zionists and Israeli fanatics that think they are “G-d’s” Chosen Ones will never let a book like that get into print and in some Zionist controlled nations, the writer would probably be tossed in jail for thinking thoughts deemed VERBOTEN.

    For a people who claimed to have 6 Million of their number “Exterminated” & then to turn around & first take 55% of another peoples land, then steal another 25%, while condemning the entire population of 4.5 million to 2 heavily fortified walled ghettos, while patrolling those same areas with children strapped to the front of the Patrol vehicles & not have the Zionist owned MSM say anything pretty much sums up everything you need to know about Israel.

    P.S. I’m a little rusty with my math, but why did the number of Jews at Auschwitz, that we were told for decades was 4 million, drop to 2.5 million in the 1990’s?

    And then drop again to around one million, and that number included gypsies, homos, dissidents and others?

    And if we wre told lies about Auschwitz….

    Stalin’s Jews

    We mustn’t forget that some of greatest murderers of modern times were Jewish

    An Israeli student finishes high school without ever hearing the name “Genrikh Yagoda,” the greatest Jewish murderer of the 20th Century, the GPU’s deputy commander and the founder and commander of the NKVD. Yagoda diligently implemented Stalin’s collectivization orders and is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 million people. His Jewish deputies established and managed the Gulag system. After Stalin no longer viewed him favorably, Yagoda was demoted and executed, and was replaced as chief hangman in 1936 by Yezhov, the “bloodthirsty dwarf.”

    Yezhov was not Jewish but was blessed with an active Jewish wife. In his Book “Stalin: Court of the Red Star”, Jewish historian Sebag Montefiore writes that during the darkest period of terror, when the Communist killing machine worked in full force, Stalin was surrounded by beautiful, young Jewish women.


    • How kind of you to stop by my writing and publishing blog for the sole purpose of trashing the Jewish people. How forbearing of you to display mendacious anti-Semitism here, in a place that exists for the benefit of authors. I won’t respond to your preposterous fabrications and baseless references. Nor will I comment on your unsupported revision of Holocaust facts, or your pernicious lies about Russian Jews. Frankly, only about 2% of the population will espouse such rubbish. However, Greg, you do have my pity. I feel sorry for someone who is filled with so much anger that he needs to spread lies about innocent people.

  4. Thanks for leaving me two messages that I posted. I only wanted to mention that most Holocaust deniers know in their hearts that the Holocaust happened; it is just their way of expressing anti-semitism and racism. Almost all of these deniers make varied racist statements, as I have seen them post on ‘youtube’ and ‘wordpress.’ Best of luck.

    yours, Paolo

  5. Thank you for your comment; and for visiting my “humble blog.”

    Pain is an indisputable part of life, both physical and mental. How we deal with pain is a measure of our character. Many of us experience a catharsis from discussing our pain. Yet, it is not our goal to prod and push people to discuss their pain. Instead, we should remain a resource for expression and guidance.

    I’m delighted that you discovered my small blog. And, I hope that in some small way it will provide an enhancement for your life and thoughts. Connecting with each other builds a community of similar-minded authors, volunteering to assist each other in small and yet meaningful ways.

    Best wishes,


  6. Hi.
    Thank you for visiting my humble blog.I’m sorry to read about your suffering ,strange how God works i’m also suffering of spinal fusion so in a way you could say i know what’s it like.Does our suffering make us more prone to notice the suffering of others?Are we in a better position to understand and feel what they went true?I think only those who were in the deathcamps truly know what i was like and those who survived always carried the suffering inside of them.Some willing to speak out about it ,others keeping this horrible ordeal hidden in the deepest of their soul.I have a relative who survived this ordeal he never speaks about it,only that place was worse then hell.Have a peacefull week!

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