The Nuts & Bolts of My Seashell Books
Welcome! I’m glad you stopped by to check out my website. I’m Michele L. Hinton, an author of several books you will find on this site, and to use an old cliché, I’m also the chief cook and bottle washer (the Publisher) for several other authors that I am proud to have published on my website.
Seashell Books is still in its infancy and was created in 2008. We (I would be more appropriate) cater to the new author who is having difficulty finding a traditional agent/publishing house. I consider my site as a stepping stone; a home for an author’s books until bigger and better comes along. Now to any famous, established, and successful author who wants me to publish them, I won’t turn you down. So why did I start my business? I have a little short story for you that you can read below.
Seashell Books: The Beginnings
It all starts with my mother, Betty J. Rees, and her children’s book, Beauregard Blue. About 25 years ago, my mother took her grandson (my nephew) to the library to find a book. He asked her, “Grandma, how come there are no stories about snakes?” Not being able to find one, she drew several pictures and wrote a story about one. It’s very cute, and I’m not saying that because my mother created it. For several years she tried to get it published, but unfortunately that didn’t happen and she shoved the manuscript in a drawer and it stayed there gathering dust.
During the time my mother was drawing and creating the story of Beauregard Blue, I was also writing my first novel, High Seas: The Cabin Boy. Like my mother, I was also turned down and to use another cliché, I could wallpaper a wall with rejection slips. My manuscript was just one of many in the slush pile of fledgling authors. These were the days before Print on Demand (POD). Back then they called them Vanity Presses. I had nothing to lose to check it out, so I query. The response I got just about gave this 30 year old (at the time) a heart attack. They’d publish me alright, but to the tune of $40,000.00. I queried another, and they just wanted a mere $36,000.00 (the price of a house)! I checked my bank account, and for the last, one I was about $35,990.00 short. So into a drawer that manuscript went, and I started on my second novel.
The years pass. Internet is in just about every home. Publishing with a Vanity Press (POD) has lowered considerable. I published my novel, High Seas: The Cabin Boy with one of those PODs, and the sequel, High Seas: A Matter of Blood with another. Though I didn’t have to pay $36,000.00 it was still expensive; you pay for every little thing they do for you – but that’s business. Now my mother was getting older. I asked her if I could have her manuscript to Beauregard Blue and she gave it to me. I wanted her to see her book in print while she was still living. Not wanting to go to a POD, I decided to format it myself. I took it to a local printer and had 1000 copies made to try and sell. I presented my mother with her Beauregard Blue in print. Needless to say, my mother was touched and very pleased. I was able to sell 200 copies within the first year. Trying to get them in bookstores — that’s another can of worms. My mother passed away, September of 2012, but her legacy to her children and grandchildren lives on in Beauregard Blue. She is missed.
With the printing of Beauregard Blue, I decided that I would have a website built, purchased software to format manuscripts and publish Instant PDF Downloads of my stories. That was a lot less expensive. I called on my niece, September, a computer whiz, and she helped create my first website. Thus, Seashell Books was born. I decided to open my website to other authors. A few queried, a few gave me a shot and I’m proud to have their work on my site.
There are several publishers similar me. When I decided to take on other authors, I decided I wouldn’t charge to format their work and place it on my website and others like, Amazon, B & N Nook, Smashwords, etc. I decided to do a 50% split of royalties after expenses and booksellers percentages are deducted instead of formatting fees for digital books. That way the author can put his/her finances into marketing/advertising his/her book. I get paid if a book sells and then remit any royalties to the author.
To be continued…
So this is the story of Seashell Books. In 2012, I started formatting for print as well as for digital. I still do not charge to format for a printed book, but the author will have to pay for proof copies and final copies he/she orders to sell.
I personally work with all of my clients. Most I have never met, but there are a few, that I have developed an on-line friendship with. I enjoy what I do. I love to write and to help authors get their work out there.
Again, thank you for stopping by and if you have a mind to, purchase a book.
Have a good day,
Michele L. Hinton