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Newton author pursues independent publishing

Published: Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 11:31 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Aug. 16, 2013 11:42 a.m. CDT

The world of publishing is changing, the rules and means adapting to fit into our increasingly electronic culture, and one Newton author is taking advantage of that changing landscape.

Rob Reed is an unassuming man. He was born in Iowa, moved to Colorado for around a dozen years and then returned to his home state. He’s been on construction jobs most of his life, and he enjoys the work. If you met him, he probably wouldn’t rank high on the list of people you’d expect to write a book titled “The Demon Gathering.”

Rob always enjoyed writing, though. He found it challenging and interesting enough to pursue over the years. When he got done with work, he’d sit down to clock more hours at the keyboard.

With the help of an instructor and mentor out west, he honed his craft and ultimately finished his first book, “The Demon Gathering,” in 2009. The book is about a man named Sam who, after hearing from a daughter he never knew he had, becomes entangled in a supernatural plot as he travels to Colorado to free his ex-girlfriend from her less-than-human captors.

Rob started off by pursuing the traditional routes of publishing. He did some research and learned how to write more effective query letters, and then he started firing off his manuscript to a variety of industry agents and publishers.

“I got some rejections,” Rob said. “The agencies, and the publishers, they’re so overwhelmed that they get hundreds of queries a day … I read some blogs and found out about people doing online publishing.”

With the advent of tablets and e-readers like Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, authors have now found a way to market their books directly to their audiences, cutting out some of the middlemen of the publishing industry.

While royalty rates for authors may have once come in as low as 10 percent, now independent writers can hold all of the rights for their material and market it online for 70 percent through Amazon or as high as 85 percent on Smashwords.com, the website Rob chose.

“I was afraid of going through Amazon. I’d heard rumors about them mistreating writers and trying to control pricing,” Rob said. “Smashwords lets me set the costs for my books and then get 85 percent of it.”

The website also gives him in-depth analytics, telling him how many people have clicked through his page, how many have read the sample chapters and then purchased the book and more insight on his page.

For now, Rob is satisfied with marketing his books this way. He said it is better for him, more convenient for the customer, and he expects the website to gain more traction over time.

“The Demon Gathering” as well as his other books and short-stories in the sci-fi and horror genres can be found at www.smashwords.com/profile/view/fa1409.

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