I am not sure if this is the correct forum or not. I have just finished my book. Now I have to learn the business of getting it published. This is a business that I need to learn a lot more about. I have done a lot of work with a grammar checking program and had several friends review my work and give me feedback. One friend sent some reviews to Amazon and Amazon publishing reached out to me. When I looked at the material Amazon sent to me they wanted me to sign a fairly massive NDA agreement right up front. I had to try to understand why this is needed. Amazon is what I would call a “Vanity Press" where, if I pay approximately $1,500 they will do a front cover, edit, and market my work through their channels. Then there is a 65% commission that I assume I would get, rather than Amazon getting.
A problem is that the NDA says that it would be in effect for life. I am not interested in signing away my rights at this point, especially without a better understanding of their business model, which Amazon won’t disclose without a signed NDA. I consider this work to be quite good, as reviews have well stated. I would use Amazon as a fall back position once I have worked to get my work in front of movers and shakers who can either endorse my work, or somehow get through the maze of online noise to be fairly considered by a publishing house.
What I would like to ask is what suggestions or resources others can suggest to get me farther down the road so to speak. I am now thinking that it may well be in my best interests to find a literary agent who knows how this game is played. But, how to find a literary agent, and how do I find a good one who is interested in promoting my particular genre. There are other tasks that I would like to address but have no idea where to start, such as finding a professional editor, getting an ISBN number or a copy-write registration of some kind before I start passing my manuscript around.
For the record, my work is a spiritual autobiography of sorts, some call it a testimony, but I think it is more than that. The genre would be creative non fiction. It is my 40 year journey including having two near death experiences and doing my best to put my life back on track after being left behind after being severely injured on active duty in the Air Force. My journey includes doing hundreds of FEMA emergency housing inspections in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and other disasters, working with children with cancer, deaf blind children, and working to deliver corporate team building programs with many Fortune 500, governmental agencies, and non profits. My spiritual journey to make sense out of all this has allowed me to balance the reality of suffering with the certainty of God, tempered by my love for humanity.
My spiritual journey has gone from Christian to new age, self help, Sufi, Native American, therapy, Christian mystical, to traditional Christian. It’s really a story about why we need God, without shoving God in your face. In my best moments I think of it as a modern version of “The Road Less Traveled” that will encourage deep introspection and combines ideas in spirituality with ideas about psychology by using my team building underpinnings to show why balance is so important in life, in a marriage, in a group of any kind, in ones self, and yes, in a country.