White Sleeper: From Idea to Publication
by Stephen Langford
The journey of writing White Sleeper was filled with twists and turns but it was the publishing of the book that seemed even more taxing. When David and I finished the book it was around September 2008. The Presidential election was in full swing and so was the economic meltdown. We had submitted the book to some publishing houses and were not getting a response. It wasn’t even a matter of being rejected, we weren’t being read. We were told that the publishers had been thrown into chaos and nothing seemed to be moving forward. The level of frustration grew as time went on and finally we decided to self publish. A publisher was chosen but the earthquakes within the publishing industry were still vibrating. We had had our cover design and final editing completed. By December of 2010 we were ready to go to press but the publisher was having trouble finding a printer. They chose a date for printing and changed it several times. We suspected they were having financial problems and grew to the point that we selected our own printer. The production of the book began and publisher said that we shouldn’t proceed this way. We did anyway. Production of the book began in March and we were delighted with the final product from Bang Printing. We hadn’t planned on learning every aspect of the publishing business but, ultimately, we had to learn the ins and outs. A release date was set and the books were shipped to the distributor. We chose not to send them the publisher’s warehouse for fear they would go under.
The one bright spot was the PR woman who seemed diligent in sending out books to bloggers. We would get a report every Friday from her. So the books were shipped and the book was finally released. We celebrated by doing two back to back book signings in Los Angeles. Then one Friday arrived and I couldn’t get a hold of our PR woman. We called for about a week to all the numbers at the publishing house and never got a human voice. We quickly acted and hired Charlie Barrett as our PR person and all was fine on our end. But what happened to the publisher? Two weeks had gone by. I tweeted our old PR person and finally got an email from her. The publisher had gone bankrupt! They cited that the eBook revolution had done them in. It was a rocky relationship that in hindsight was probably driven by their financial pressures. At this point it didn’t stop the White Sleeper. It was out and sitting in a warehouse unrelated to the publisher which was my writing partner, David wise idea. We had initially wanted a high end publisher that could do what the big houses do. But in the end we did it ourselves. I think in some ways there’s a greater sense of accomplishment. I think in a greater sense it’s a harbinger of the future for authors. I think that authors will be more empowered by groundbreaking book delivery technology. I think David and I have become more sophisticated in this process and so will many other writers. I think the one man band author/publisher is going is driving the future rather than the traditional route.
STEPHEN LANGFORD is the veteran writer producer of over one hundred and fifty hours of primetime television writing. His credits include Family Matters and Malcolm and Eddie. He later became a screenwriter writing the motion picture Lovewrecked. His latest produced film is “The Nanny Express” which is running on the Hallmark Channel.
Langford grew up in the Boston area and later attended Emerson College where he received a Bachelor of Science in Film. After college, Langford began working in the motion picture field working for such film directors as Sidney Lumet and Joel Schumacher. Currently Langford lives in Tarzana with his wife Sandy and their two children Allyson and Erica. He is also the proud owner of a Jack Russell terrier named Betty and Chihuahua named Tovah.
More information on White Sleeper can be found on the book’s website at http://www.whitesleeper.com.