Friday, October 29, 2010

How to self-publish a novel

If you want to see a big part of the future of book publishing, go to

It's the Web site for Through the Heart of the South, a new self-published coming-of-age novel about a white high school lad buffeted by the civil rights movement, with a background of Dixie railroading.

The author is Jody Meacham, a North Carolina native, onetime Seaboard Coast Line brakeman and recovering California sportswriter. He has a commercially published book -- Skating for Dummies, with Kristi Yamaguchi -- under his belt as well as the skills and smarts to make a private venture work.

The first two chapters of the novel are free on the web site for the downloading, in .pdf format, and their vivid prose impelled me to order a $8 e-book (there is a link to to read on my Kindle. The novel also comes in ePub format at the same price for the Nook (with a link to and a $16 print-on-demand trade paperback.

The Web site is attractively designed, with sections offering a Q-and-A with the author and the historical background of the novel.

I learned about this book on, a Web site devoted to one of my pastimes, railroads and train travel. There, using the nom de web "Doodlebug," Meacham posted a message about the book. Targeting niche interests on the Internet is potentially an effective way for a self-published novelist to promote his wares, and you will be seeing more of this kind of thing in years to come.

In a week I'm taking Amtrak's Capitol Limited to Washington. Guess what I'll be reading aboard the train?


  1. this was on a couple days ago and i wanted share it with you.

  2. Doctorow's argument is interesting . . . but he is a well-established science fiction author with a large following, not a fledgling novelist nobody ever heard of, and the whole-book-free-for-download model is, in my view, unlikely to work for the latter.

  3. Thank you for posting about this book! I have had both a Kindle & a Nook since Summer & so far have only bought one ebook--this one! (I do libraries [the Manhattan, Brooklyn & Queens libraries have large collections!] & free).

    But being both a rail fan and someone who came of age in the 60's (left college in '64) I went ahead and purchased the $8 Kindle version. The author's website helped clinch the sale!

    I really enjoyed the book! I was moved to (good) near tears many times.

    I appreciate the effort the author made to 'live into' how individual Blacks experienced school integration in a Southern railroad 'hamlet'. Whites too--but he pretty much knew that growing up there!


  4. Editing my comment: Left high school in '64 (Rio de Janeiro) & college (Minnesota) in '68.

    Here's link to the Amazon page for $8 e-version. There are no comments yet. Henry & others: We need to post!

    Chet in NYC