Have you ever been so in love with something you would do anything to make it happen?
This is where I'm at with my writing career.
I've always loved to read. Ever since I was eight years old I've voraciously read anything I can get my hands on, science fiction, fantasy, horror, drama, biography, fiction, non-fiction, anything to satisfy my natural lust for the written word. I've always been the guy who lovingly straightens the carelessly folded corners of the more tattered of the used books. It was inevitable that I start writing as well.
I love to write, though I wasn't very serious as a writer until the end of 2003. This was when I started my WerewolF Chronicles series. I was in jail in Douglas County, Co serving a sentence for a DUI charge (Ah, the arrogance of youth.) and I had a dream that I was a werewolf being chased by mercenary soldiers who were immortal. Upon waking to the harsh reality of my hard bunk and cold cell I immediately drew a picture of a werewolf and, after a day or two of dwelling on it, decided to listen to my instincts and start writing a story around it.
Once I started I found I couldn't stop and though the responsibilities of life, upon my release back into the tumultuous stream of the real world, at times kept me from returning to it- return to it I did. It was the summer of 2007 that I finally finished the manuscript for not only the first book (The Quantum Prophecy) but also the second (In Harmony We Trust). Another four years of sporadic editing and hopefully searching the literary world for a publisher then led me to the conclusion that if I truely wanted to be published there was no reason not to do it myself.
It was from this decision that Harker Meadow Handcrafted Books was born.
I had submitted my manuscript to many publishers with little or no success when I finally got a comprehensive answer from one of the more recognized subsidiary publishers out there. Without naming names let's just say that while the service they were offering was very complete in every way, including a complete publishing and marketing package, their fee was extraordinarily high (nearly $15,000) and I was appalled as I have very lttle money and definitely nowhere close to the sum they asked for. What they had unwittingly given me through their display of interest (for my pocketbook) however was a complete breakdown of the services they offered. After reading through their proposal several times I irrevocably concluded- Hey, why pay someone to do all this when with a little time and effort I can do it all myself!
I became excited and immediately began tackling what I considered to be the biggest job of all, learnin how a paperback is made and teaching myself the methods by which I could make them myself. Fortunately there are tons of DIY videos to be found on YouTube which cover this subject and it wasn't long before I was armed with the necessary knowledge and materials to build the very first paperback proof copy of The Quantum Prophecy. And I sure am I glad I did!
I had gone over my digital Word manuscript at least six times using not only spell and grammer check but also my own extensive knowledge of the English language to edit and had thought I was polished enough to publish; that first proof taught me otherwise. It doesn't matter how much you edit on a computer, nothing beats have a solid, material paperback in your hands. There were so many mistakes on the first page I couldn't believe I had thought I was ready, and throughout the subsequent pages as well. It took me building and carefully rereading three seperate proofs before I finally and truely felt confident that I really was ready to publish.
This was the beginning of this year and I have officially kickstarted Harker Meadow Handcrafted Books with it's first paperback release, my very own The Quantum Prophecy. Athough not a perfect science, my book building techniques grow stronger, more confident and refined with every paperback I build. To date, due mostly to finacial restraints, I've only printed and built 20 official copies (and many proofs of different books, even repairing some traditional paperbacks in my personal library that have suffered the trials of time) of The Quantum Prophecy but have sold each and every one, having them eagerly snapped up like precious gems.
Though my marketing skills are still in their infancy I would like to extend my services to other Indie Writers out there by offering to build quality paperbacks for them as well.
My small batch print runs of 50-200 books would be great for local distribution and marketing strategies for the budding Independent Author, enabling them to not only offer their work to others at affordable prices but also as individual, custom handcrafted works of art.
So please feel free to contact me via my email with your completed manuscripts, I'm open to all generes, and enjoy the unique publishing experience of working with- Harker Meadow Handcrafted Books!
Thanks and Enjoy!
Ryan Matthew Harker, Owner/Operator