|My name is Brian T. Yates. I live in "fabulous" Las Vegas, NV where I work as a casino duel rate along the Strip. For those wondering, What is a duel rate? The answer to that is simple. On some shifts a duel rate is a dealer, on other days, we're pit bosses.
Casino work isn't a bad job. I get paid to entertain people. However, I am more interested in becoming a writer and after sending out a multitude of query letters, I have realized the traditional publishing world has changed and there is an opportunity for people willing to embrace this change.
Pretend you're a literary agent. For some, you don't have to pretend. You're already living the dream, but work with me. There you are, in your office, and after dealing with the major issues of the day, you now have to check a mountain of mail and e-mails from people hoping for your representation.
You're looking for a reason to say no and move on to the next correspondence because you can't say yes all the time and the writing may not suit your current needs.
Among the e-mails and letters, you come across a six page double spaced story by an unknown author. The query letter passes muster so you read about a dog in a kennel who endures hardships in a quest to find a forever home. There are no illustrations with this story, just words and you think, "Not bad. I can probably sell this."
The next letter you open is J.K. Rowling's next book proposal.
Assuming it all comes down to a choice between the unknown writer with the dog story or the author of the Harry Potter series, which one would better suits you, the literary agent who gets 15% of the book sales, potential advance, and bragging rights for selling a major book? Here's a hint: the Harry Potter author will always trump the six page story about a puppy dog written by the unknown writer.
Here's the next issue. Should the literary agent take on the unknown author, the agent now has to convince a publisher, and later the entire publishing house, that there is a market for a book about a Golden Retriever looking for a forever home.
Publishing houses do not budget a whole lot of money on marketing. Once in print, a book has three to six months to catch on before it joins a slew of other books in the remainder rack.
Now an unknown writer like me can complain and say the system's not fair or I can try another approach. I'm tired of hearing no, I know I have a great book, and even if I did find a literary agent and then a publisher, I would still have to market my book.
There is a niche for people like with the confidence to follow my dream. I have opted to self-publish.
Going from an unknown to a known writer meant taking the following steps:
1. I am a member of the Henderson Writers' Group. We meet in Las Vegas, NV and critique each other's work. With their input, my fellow members have made Yalu and the Puppy Room a better story. I am fond of saying that my writing group can take bad writing and make it good or good writing and make it betterafter taking their suggestions to heart, my writing is at least good.
2. I signed with a publisher in Henderson, NV called Mystic Publishers. Jo and Audrey helped turn these six pages into a chapter book, corrected a slew of minor errors, and taught me the pictures go on the left side instead of the right of the story.
3. Tielman Chaney did the illustrations and followed the example of countless artists throughout timehis client, me, would describe what I wanted for a picture and then he, the artist, would sketch the idea to paper and convince me what he did was what I really wanted. Tielman has a skill I will never haveI can't even draw stick people and within five minutes, he could pencil sketch just about anything imaginable. For those interested in Tielman's work go to www.studiotiel.com. He not only created the pictures of my book, but also the cover.
4. My next stop was IRS.gov for a free EIN number and the creation of my creation my company: Little Brown Dog.
5. The state of Nevada, where I live, requires a business license and being a very small business that works out of my home, there is currently no annual fee for maintaining my S company that should probably become a Nevada corporation. That will happen, just not today.
6. Steps four and five allowed people at Wells Fargo to create merchant accounts for Little Brown Dog where I can sell my book to you, the public, and make state and federal officials happy by paying taxes.
7. BookMaster's in Ashland, OH transformed Yalu and the Puppy Room into a hardcover book and did a marvelous job.
8. Finally, thanks to Roger for recording my voice and Anthony for arranging the pictures with the audio recording for You Tube and this web page, that is also his creation.
I never expected to run a business or that my first published book would be about how I meet my dog, but here I am. Marketing is a whole new frontier that I will approach next for there are many ways to sell a book.
For those wanting to read Yalu and the Puppy Room, there is a pdf version on this webpage. There is also an audio version of me reading the story. Enjoy.