Follow Along: Publishing a Book From an Author's Perspective by Robert Neff

Follow along as I prepare to publish my book, Reconnecting With Life. I offer insight into book publication. Storify documents this journey using images, information and stories. My photography, writing and contemporary art may be seen at FifthWorldArt.com. Comments: rob@fifthworldart.com

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  1. UPDATE: Book is now published and available online, see where!

  2. Note: This Storify article is a living document and the intent is to hone the work, sharpen the content. I will edit, add/delete and correct typos. If there is a heavy revision, I may add a revision date.
  3. Hashtag is: #RWLife - Follow along on Google and Twitter
  4. His most recent book, Driving The Divas, has made the second round of Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award
  5. FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 22, 2013  - Updated: 26 Aug 2013
    Follow Along Publishing A Book From An Author’s Perspective
  6. How the Concept Came to “Life”

    Rev 22 Feb 2012, 11pm

    A distant phone call from my widowed mother in 2002 literally changed my world. In her calmest motherly voice, she declared simply: "I have breast cancer."

     

    As I absorbed those four words, there was no question where I needed to be. Caught in the recession with no obligations to a full-time position, I immediately packed up and drove straight through from Dallas to my hometown in Ohio. My priorities shifted without a second thought; my only purpose was to be there for my mom.

     

    My life in Ohio was vastly different from the one I had become accustomed to in Texas. After 20 years of building my own story, with a career that consumed me, there I was back at home serving as a “helper” for my sick mother.

     

    When not caring for mom, I stayed busy doing small repairs and making updates around the house. I also enjoyed getting out and revisiting the places I knew so well as a kid.

    Then one day, out of the blue, I was inspired to write. I began using my spare time, my rambling thoughts, a pen and paper to explore my life, my direction, how people treat one another and romance. It was just the therapy I needed.

     

    Once my mother was healthy again, I returned to Dallas energized to move forward with the next phase on my life—and determined that writing would be a big part of it.


    I continued to write and edit over the next few years, eventually realizing I had one book with five themes: private reflections, personal observations, social commentary, romantic interludes, and compassion and empathy. These themes are the five chapters of  Reconnecting With Life'.

  7. Short Summary

    Publication requires a short summary that is less than 400 characters. The character count is 398. Thoughts? Send your comments to rob@fifthworldart.com

     

    Reconnecting with Life, spurred when I returned home to support my widowed mother’s fight with breast cancer in 2002, reevaluates my life journey and direction. Removed from life as I knew it, my priorities quickly changed with the realities and limitations of my mother’s years as well as her continued worries about her brother in a nursing home. This book explores my life experiences, my intense love of nature and its imagery, and the paths I’ve taken along the way.


  8. Long Summary

    Publication requires a short summary that is less than 400 characters. The character count is less than 4000. Thoughts? Send your comments to rob@fifthworldart.com

    In my forty-second year, I was content yet drifting—questioning the quality of my friendships and relationships and the choices I had made in recent years. Without steady employment, I had exhausted my retirement funds and bank account just to survive, like so many others during those hard economic times and subsequent recession. America and I were struggling.

     

    I returned to my hometown several times in the previous year—initially to support my mother’s fight with breast cancer (the catalyst for what became a personal journey) and later to support my uncle’s losing battle with stomach cancer and to work on the family home.

     

    My desire to write was fueled by a convergence of thoughts and questions. I quickly became comfortable using free verse to weave a story or express my perspective. This approach allowed me to rediscover and reconnect with my roots. Hence, Reconnecting with Life, is about the journey to reevaluate my life direction.

     

    After 18 months of writing, I realized my work was falling into five distinct themes: private reflections, personal observations, social commentary, romantic interludes, and compassion and empathy. These themes are the five chapters of Reconnecting with Life,.    

  9. Chapter 1 — Private Reflections

    [Revision 20130222] 
    Values are based on our experiences and perspective. For me, returning home in my 40s to support my widowed mother's fight with breast cancer was a transition from the “rat race” to a much slower and distinct pace. I had time to reflect in private and found myself reconnecting with the past. Those days provided crystal clear insight into how my life had been shaped by my experiences and perspective. I found myself driven to write.    
  10. Chapter 1 — Private Refelctions
    Chapter 1 — Private Refelctions
  11. Chapter 2 — Personal Observations

    [Revision 20130222]    
    There is a noticeable lack of understanding in regard to the scope of challenges other people face. People in general have become numb to the plight of others who are less fortunate or struggling to survive. Our culture seems to be surrounded by complacency and/or hate. My words reflect the struggles I see through personal observations. 
  12. Edited, Reconnecting With Life: Chapter 2 — Personal Observations, Eyes
    Edited, Reconnecting With Life: Chapter 2 — Personal Observations, Eyes
  13. Chapter 3 — Social Commentary

    [Revision 20130222]    

    Lives and viewpoints are wielded with reckless abandon, mostly without understanding. Prejudice is just a mask. People and cultures have become pawns to serve another's hate. Decisions made by those in power span borders and are not limited to one race, color or creed. These decisions have implications that dictate whether we live or die. These errors are repeated with indifference to their impact on the people and this world. My views are a social commentary on both past and present decisions made by other human beings.    

  14. Chapter 3 — Social Commentary
    Chapter 3 — Social Commentary
  15. Chapter 4 — Romantic Interludes

    [Revision 20130222]   

    Thoughts of romance are a healthy way to occupy time and space. These interludes may have been real at one time, or they may be scenarios I conjured or even planned. Sometimes they were the result of idle conversation I had or overheard. Sometimes my imagination steered the thought. When these moments strike, I relax and let my subconscious weave the story into a romantic interlude.

  16. Chapter 4 — Romantic Interludes
    Chapter 4 — Romantic Interludes
  17. Chapter 5 — Compassion and Empathy

    [Revision 20130205]   
    The intent is to stir your emotions to provide a better understanding of the souls of the world, their trials and their tribulations. I want you to feel what it’s like to struggle. I want you to feel the earth give and take with each step. I want you to experience the world they face and respect what they cherish. I want you to be touched inside and look at others with compassion and empathy. I consider this chapter the keystone of the book.    
  18. Chapter 5 — Compassion and Empathy
    Chapter 5 — Compassion and Empathy
  19. BIO

    SHORT

    Robert Neff is a writer, photographer and contemporary artist who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is an Ohio native and was heavily influenced by his family’s Appalachian heritage. His respect for the land and nature are evident in his work, which can be viewed at FifthWorldArt.com
       

    MEDIUM

    Robert Neff is a writer, photographer and contemporary artist who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is an Ohio native and was heavily influenced by his family’s Appalachian heritage. His respect for the land and nature are evident in his work, which can be viewed at FifthWorldArt.com.

     

    His writing includes commentary, storytelling, essay and poetry. His roots and life experiences are his inspiration for subject matter that varies from everyday life to romance to death and dying and family. His social conscious is keenly reflected in his writing. He often uses the pen to narrate his photo essays.

     

    Robert has developed a national and international following for his travel, lifestyle and event photography and for his contemporary art. He is noted for his perspective, always providing an eye’ for the unique and interesting. His commissioned work can be found in corporate offices as well as private homes.

      

    Robert earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he graduated cum laude, and an MBA from Campbell University. He spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, eight years in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and is a veteran of the first Gulf War. 


    LONG

    Robert Neff is a writer, photographer and contemporary artist who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. He is an Ohio native and was heavily influenced by his family’s Appalachian heritage. His respect for the land and nature are evident in his work, which can be viewed at FifthWorldArt.com.

     

    His writing includes commentary, storytelling, essay and poetry. His roots and life experiences are his inspiration for subject matter that varies from everyday life to romance to death and dying and family. His social conscious is keenly reflected in his writing. He often uses the pen to narrate his photo essays.

     

    Robert has developed a national and international following for his travel, lifestyle and event photography and for his contemporary art. He is noted for his perspective, always providing ‘an eye’ for the unique and interesting. His commissioned work can be found in corporate offices as well as private homes.

     

    Much of his artwork revolves around his fascination with nature’s geometric patterns and perspective or reflection. In explaining his reputation for capturing ‘real life… unedited’ Robert states, “We have been trained to see perfection. Now we want to be seen as that person, but that is neither reality nor who we really are. We are imperfect, and this is my approach—capturing the story with the lens.”

     

    He has organized large-scale social media events for the Dali Museum (St. Petersburg, FL), the Honda Grand Prix (St. Petersburg, FL) and the World’s Richest Tarpon Tournament (Boca Grande, FL) and supports non-profit efforts such as Heart Tampa BaySurfers For Autism and Komen 3-Day  He also covers events for newspapers, clients and NASA launches. He is a member of the NASASocial effort and attended the last Space Shuttle launch, Atlantis, and SpaceX Dragon CRS-1 and CRS-2.

     

    Robert earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, where he graduated cum laude, and an MBA from Campbell University. He spent four years in the U.S. Air Force, eight years in the U.S. Air Force Reserves and is a veteran of the first Gulf War. 

  20. Book Cover

    The book cover is the single most important marketing tool in today's internet, ebook and book world! This must be grab the web surfer's attention!
    I knew I wanted the background to my photograph of the white azalea bush. I was having difficult with the font  selection and how to best make it pop. So I asked my friend Joe Stewart. He is a top-notch illustrator who handled major accounts for one of the largest banks and his clients included Disney. He came back with this design. Now if you are interested in a top-notch book design, check out Joe's work on his web site, Ask Joe Stewart. By the way, he is one of Florida's top illustrators and blog coders/designers.
  21. Was Reconnecting With Life Copyrighted?

    Yes, in 2006 as Selected Works from Reconnecting With Life. This was the original concept. I put the book on the shelf for a few years. When I reread the book, I found that I was no longer comfortable with the title and front matter. I edited the front matter and a few works.
    Now that I am ready to publish the book, I have modified my approach. I dropped the "Selected Works from" because the work stands on its own. Later if I decide to revisit the unpublished works, I will publish as volume two, volume three, etc..
    Copyright will be resubmitted in 2013 using the Library of Congress' online submission, Electronic Copyright Office. The poetry book can be submitted by mail but this is more expensive.
  22. How Will I Publish My Work?

    eBook: I will publish as an ebook with First Edition Design Publishing and they will provide the ISBN number and distribution channels. They will also provide an account to pay royalties.
    Since 2006, the market has drastically changed. I had learned InDesign and was creating my own book for publication. Then the ebook emerged and I learned how to convert the book to ePub standard. I conducted research on how best to market and publish. Now, fast forward to 2012 and the market has shifted. eBook readers are numerous and each eReader has its quirks. The ePub file must be tweaked so the reader will properly render it. Hence, I opted to outsource the creation and distribution to a publisher who has the experience and the worldwide distribution channels.
    Hardcopy: This is not my current focus. My approach is to launch the ebook, learn and review my publication strategy. This includes acceptance, costs and options. Print On Demand is certainly a consideration. First Edition Design Publishing has the capability to provide Print On Demand (POD).
    Consideration: After rights, royalty and cost to print are the single most important drivers. My comparative analysis of other publishing options found royalty to be critical.
  23. NEXT STEPS

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