Today at jexbo we’re talking to author Jeff Bradford. Here’s what he has to share with us:
Tell us about your self-published book and where it is available.
My Coyote Creek is an honest and emotional memoir told by the youngest of three children (that would be me, author Jeff Bradford) about a mother’s creative struggle to provide a normal upbringing for her children while living with an abusive sociopath of a husband.
She shields her children from the truth that is her bizarre dark reality; all the while finding imaginative ways to feed and clothe them in the poverty stricken isolation of the vast prune orchards along the banks of Coyote Creek in Santa Clara County, California.
From 1957 to 1961, the children, Sharon, 7; Dave, 5; and Jeff, 4, wallow in the majesty of this wonderland their mother has created for them while being protected from the abusive horrors she endures.
This story shows a mother’s amazing resolve to create secure bliss for her children—a childhood filled with love and creativity. Readers can expect a mind-expanding experience brimming with adventures right out of a modern-day Huck Finn scenario.
That is until the day their innocence is lost and their lives are changed forever as their idea of heaven instantly turns to a confusing and distorted view of their mother’s hell. The children witness for the first time their father’s brutality when he leaves their mother for dead on the side of the road. Without transportation or a telephone, and living in the middle of nowhere, how would they save their mother and escape to safety?
Little did they know that their mother had seen this life-threatening situation coming and had devised a plan to secretly escape in the middle of the night. With the help of relatives, the family makes the move to freedom in the small town of Morgan Hill, California–ten miles south of Coyote. Here, their lives take on new adventures as the family of four, who stuck together during the worst of times, create and build better lives.
You’ll walk with them as they emerge from the isolation of low-end poverty to become one of the founding families of Morgan Hill. You’ll cheer them on as they become known, liked, and respected members of the community giving the three children, and mother, a chance for a better life; a chance to make something for them, and make a positive contribution to society.
Although there are many struggles and failures along the way, it’s not until the end that a struggle of a different kind emerges. When the youngest son, Jeff, at the age of 50, receives a voice message from his long-forgotten tormented father while the father lies on his deathbed, the agonizing question then becomes: should Jeff return the call?
My Coyote Creek is currently available through Smashwords.com (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/114205) and has just been approved (by Smashwords after checking that the formatting was done properly) for distribution to Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other outlets that sell e-books. Smashwords takes care of the distribution to those outlets which makes it easier and less time consuming and frustrating for me. Any sales through Smashwords.com I receive 80-85% royalty from the sale of each book and 60-70% when sold through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, that’s what I have been told but, as of yet, I have not sold any through those other outlets as the distribution process has just begun. If things work out well I will look at going through Amazon for print-on-demand printed books if the demand for the book is strong and warrants the additional cost of re-formatting and the additional creative design for the spine and back cover.
Why did you decide to self-publish?
I originally tried to market this memoir, My Coyote Creek, to the “normal” publishing houses like Random House and others agencies that I’m sure you’d all be aware of, however, all I received back (if anything) were somewhat arrogant rejection letters. After getting input from others who were helpful in the publishing world (Colorado Independent Publishers Association) and doing my own research online I found that self-publishing would be the only way to make a go of this if I wanted by baby (My Coyote Creek) to be read and enjoyed by others. Perhaps a mother that’s in a bad relationship with an abuser can learn from the read and this will benefit the children of those relationships, and that’s been the cruxes of my determination to see this story be published and come to light. If you want to succeed, self-publish!
What was your biggest challenge to overcome in self-publishing your book and why?
Lack of knowledge and experience of the entire process of writing and publishing was the biggest hurdle for me. My situation wasn’t that of an experienced writer who had a story, but of a powerful story that needed a writer. Everything was a roadblock of sorts, grammar, layout, spelling, thought process, publishing process and just the overwhelming task at hand was daunting, to say the least.
What has been the best part about self-publishing your book and why?
The possibilities are what I find most encouraging and continue to provide motivation, excitability and an uplifting positive drive. I’m not sitting around waiting for some letter to come in the mail or for some “form” email from a publishing house telling me a bunch of crap that I won’t believe anyway as their motivation and drive certainly isn’t me. So, I guess the answer to this question is “control” over my own success . . . not failure!
What advice do you have for other writers who are self-publishing their book?
The best thing I ever did was to join the Colorado Independent Publishers Association (CIPA). This isn’t a paid endorsement or anything of that nature; it’s simply the honest truth. It’s what has worked for me. By joining an association of others who have the same goals as you and run up against the same roadblocks as you will make all the difference in the world with regards to enjoyment of the process and the completion of your project. I would imagine there are associations of this sort in every state that you can contact and join. Within these independent publishing associations you’ll find individuals and small companies for every aspect of the publishing world, and they want to help you as others have helped them. If you can’t locate one of these associations in your area you can check out CIPA (http://www.cipacatalog.com) and perhaps become a “distance” member or something.
Through CIPA I found Karen Reddick, The Red Pen Editor (http://www.theredpeneditor.com), who was so helpful and caring that I can’t find the words to describe my gratitude. I couldn’t have done this without her. I also found forums and roundtables and seminars and so many other ways to learn about the industry with this group that I can honestly say that I may not have completed my project without their concern and help. I also found through CIPA, or who found me, was Gail Nelson (http://www.e-book-design.com) who did the creative front cover work as well as the formatting and layout. If you need the help I’m sure they would be happy to assist, again this isn’t spam or a paid anything… it’s simply what and who worked and cared for me.
Is there anything you would like to add?
Yes, I’m new to all of this and I’m having difficulty understanding and utilizing Twitter. I could use some help, perhaps examples of how to send a “proper” tweet and not offend anyone or have people think I’m a spammer (I hate that too). I’m just trying to do what’s right, so if anyone can help me comprehend the protocol . . . I’d really appreciate it.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Jeff, and good luck with book sales!