IndieJourney: Iris Waichler

Riding the Infertility Roller Coaster was my second book. My previous publisher had gone out of business. I believed that since I had already successfully published it would be easier this time. I was mistaken. My book topic, infertility, was a timely one.

I ultimately contacted over 40 publishers. Five publishers I contacted had gone out of business. I also got responses like “nobody cares about infertility.” I quickly realized in the twenty years since my first book the publishing industry had radically changed.

A friend gave me a magazine article talking about a publishing company that specialized in books written by stay at home moms. I knew at this point that I would have to work with a publisher with an “independent focus.” I contacted Nancy Cleary, head of Wyatt-MacKenzie publishing company. She had lots of publishing experience and numerous contacts throughout the publishing industry. What was interesting to me was she had created a women’s writing co-operative composed of stay at home moms. She believed our books had value and we had something important to say. The traditional publishers didn’t necessarily share these sentiments. Ms. Cleary asked me to send my manuscript and offered me a publishing contract a few days later. The co-operative was closed in 2005 but she still is actively publishing and consulting.

The hardest part of getting published for me was putting a team together to make it a reality. I didn’t know where or how to begin. Ms. Cleary helped me build a platform which was critical. She also got me an ISBN number, found me a distributor, illustrator, and printer. My husband is a great writer and he initially was my editor. As you can imagine having your spouse edit your book can have its “challenges.” Ultimately, I got in touch with a wonderful woman who did my indexing and the final editing on my book.

The beauty of being in the writing co-op was having the ongoing communication and expertise of my colleagues who were in Germany and all around the country. We helped each other market our books and we often shared resource information. One of my colleagues was a public relations expert and she wrote my press release. Ms. Cleary also helped me put together a website and get on Amazon.

I have to say that universally my experience with all the members of my publishing team was extremely positive. I initially did have to put up some money to be in the co-operative. The costs associated with working with my publishing team were relatively low because of my association with Wyatt-MacKenzie. Ms. Cleary also helped a lot with the marketing for me and my colleagues. Obviously, finding a publisher to pay all of these expenses would have been ideal but I was anxious to move forward with my book project even if it meant spending some of my money to make my dream a reality. This was a unique independent publishing model and that was a perfect fit for me.

I am proud to say that my book went on to receive three awards. It won the National Association of Parenting Publications (NAPPA) gold award for best book of the year. It also won the the Foreword Magazine and USABookNews finalist awards for best book of the year. I would really encourage independent authors to enter book award contests. The fees are modest and if you win there is generally national press and exposure and sometimes cash awards. Most significantly for me I was able to reach a greater number of people to help in their quests to build their families. My dream did become a reality!

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