Garden City Park, NY: Jan Yager has written and published 50 books during her 48 years in the book biz. There’s always been one book, though, that she had hoped to help see published—the one her father had always wanted to write.
“I found out a few years after he passed away from a brain tumor at age 80,” Yager recalls, “that my father, a dentist who gave up his own private practice when he was 65, had wanted to write a self-help book for retirees—but he never told me or anyone else about it. I only learned about his literary ambition when my mother shared with me a journal my Dad had been keeping in the year leading up to his retirement, and beyond. If only I have known about my Dad’s goal of becoming a published author! I could have helped him to fulfill it. I know in my heart of hearts that my Dad’s later years would have been more rewarding for him.”
With the recent publication of her newest title, How to Self-Publish Your Book ($19.95 USD, ISBN: 978-0-7570-0465-0), Yager hopes to now help others, old and young alike, to achieve their own dreams of writing—and, yes, publishing—a book of their own.
Having worked fulltime beginning at age 23 with such big trade houses such as Macmillan and Grove Press; getting published starting at age 26 by commercial giants like Scribner, Prentice-Hall, Doubleday, Wiley, and Simon & Schuster, among others; and then self-publishing through her own company, Hannacroix Creek Books, since 1996, Yager found a like-minded publishing colleague for her book on self-publishing in Rudy Shur. (Shur is himself the author of Square One's popular guide How to Publish Your Nonfiction Book, now in a revised second edition.)
Having been president of Avery from its 1976 start date until its 1999 acquisition by Penguin Putnam (yes, that’s pre-“PRH” consolidation name with Random House from a few seasons back), Shur’s present company, Square One Publishers, is now the biggest independently-owned trade book publisher of both alternative and conventional health books in the nation.
It didn’t hurt that Shur remembered first meeting Yager when both were still NYC borough kids in their late teens—Jan grew up in Bayside, Queens, graduating from Francis Lewis High School. But what chiefly drove Shur's decision to publish Jan’s book on the good, the bad, and the ugly of self-publishing was just how many horror stories he had heard from any number of self-published authors whenever he would give talks and lectures to writers’ groups and organizations.
“Eight out of ten of these people,” Shur says, “would tell me how they had paid so-called ‘publishing experts’ to help them publish their very own bestseller. These folks didn’t have a clue. They needed to know that no one can promise that your book will become a bestseller. But at least they could write and publish a book that could potentially stand up to the competition. I always thought to myself, if only those self-published authors could have gotten a hold of a book that would tell them everything they needed to actually know about how to go about publishing their own book.”
Fortunately, that book, How to Self-Publish Your Book, now exists. Yager's book is already getting high marks from pre-publication sources that the book industry turns to for guidance about what new books to know about, such as the American Library Association’s Booklist (“Realistic, accessible, and thorough”), the equally library-friendly Library Journal (who has given the book a starred review), and the 100+-year-old book biz guide, Publishers Weekly (“Invaluable to anyone seeking to self-publish”).
Stuck for a gift to get those fathers in your lives who always seem to like telling stories, or those who you guess just might be harboring a secret wish to write a book and get it published? How to Self-Publish Your Book just might do the trick.