Is There a Book in You?

Data shows that reading books is not the way to spend a leisurely afternoon for the under 25 age group. Should authors, and publishers, throw in the towel? Not unless you want to kiss off a bunch of money.

According to the Book Industry Study Group ( book sales are seriously underreported. In their study, “Under the Radar,” reports that approximately 63,000 publishers with annual sales of less than $50 million generate aggregate sales of $14.2 billion this past year. This is serious money.

Is there a book in you? Will the creation of one enhance your present career? Could one lead you in a new direction? Could you actually make money if you published a book?

The answer to all that is a huge yes. Most people have fantasies of writing a book—be it for children, a great novel, how-to, business or any of the genres that are out there. They just don’t know how to get the ball rolling.

You can write a book and try to get it published by a New York publisher. You can also look at alternatives. Here in Denver, you are in luck. It’s the home of the Colorado Independent Publishers Association ( with over 350 small publishers and authors and CIPA has its annual College next month, March 27-29. Disclosure time: I’m a past president.

Denver author Mary Jo Fay (, is a prime example of how self-publishing can turn your career and your life, completely around.

Fay had always wanted to write a book but was overwhelmed thinking about the typical road to publishing. Thirteen weeks after attending her first CIPA meeting, her first book was published. She thought she’d met her life’s goal. Little did she know that it was only the tip of the iceberg.

Now, four years and four books later, she has a Google presence in many languages. With an expertise in difficult relationships and how to find healthy ones, her clients are as far away as London; has sold the book rights to the Egyptian market; has a screenplay with a former Ron Howard producer that is tied to one of her books; and is working with a TV production company in Hollywood about a documentary on childhood sexual abuse. Whew!

“I had no idea the path that self-publishing would lead me,” says Fay. “From my first little book about the confusing relationship we all have with ourselves, Get Out of Your Boxx, to the latest on finding healthy love, The Seven Secrets of Love.

Or take Denver’s morning personality Dom Testa ( Dom co-hosts the Dom and Jane Show on Mix 100 Radio in Denver. He’s also the author of the Galahadseries of books for young adults.

In 2004, he published a young adult novel, Galahad 1: The Comet’s Curse, targeted at the late-elementary/middle school audience under his own publishing imprint. The book became a state best-seller and won multiple awards including the Grand Prize from Writer’s Digest. Suddenly Dom had the distinction he was looking for.

“I’ve been working with schools and libraries for more than 15 years,” he shared. “The writing workshops and assemblies for young adults were well received, but marketing was a challenge. Every business needs a spotlight, something to draw attention and provide a distinction. Galahad did that.”

Dom has become so skilled, that the key publisher in sci-books has taken over the Galahad series with more to come.

Instructional designer Elizabeth Yarnell’s ( career took a 180 when her award-winning book, Glorious One Pot Meals was published by her own press two years ago. Today, you call her an author, publisher, and speaker.

She’s not a professional chef and has no culinary training. But she is an inventor and created a unique method of cooking that has been patented. And she wrote about it.

Yarnell says, “There is no doubt that having a book gives me credibility I wouldn’t otherwise have in my career. If I hadn’t gone ahead and independently published my book, I would still be trolling for agents and publishers, still hoping to share my words with the world but stifled by contrary big business interests. My book provides extra income and has opened the door to move forward in other fields, including hosting a TV show.”

When Rhonda Spellman ( published her first book, she felt like David facing a world full of Goliaths. She’s now working on book three, In Search of a Better Truth, the Mystery and Magic of Asperger’s Syndrome which was created after her son was diagnosed with Aspergers and her quest to understand the issues around the disease.

Her discoveries led to new, innovative programs that have changed thousands of lives. From that, she created her disABILITY Awareness program that is being embraced by schools.

Animal Behaviorists Suzanne Hetts and Dan Estep (www.AnimalBehaviorAssociates.comhave found that their books support their credibility, increased their visibility, attracted more customers to their services and make money. Their publishing arm, Island Dog Press, has created Raising a Behaviorally Healthy Puppy and Help!  I’m Barking and I Can’t Be Quiet.When the American Animal Hospital Association saw their work, they asked them to write, Pet Behavior Protocol.

All of these authors, and now publishers, have experienced growth in their careers through having a book. Self-publishing from years ago looked like, well, self-publishing. That has all changed. The books being produced by the guy down the street are probably printed and designed by the professionals that the New York houses use.

The good news is that you can too. If you are interested in writing or publishing a book, CIPA College will make a difference.