Last year, I was part of a BookBaby video team that met a local author (local to our offices in Pennsauken, NJ) named Frank Moriarty. Frank has published over a dozen books to date, most of them through traditional publishing houses, but his latest book, Modern Listener Guide: Jimi Hendrix, is a sprawling, big, beautiful bit of self-published work that takes you on a guided tour of Jimi Hendrix’s recorded output and injects history and context to your listening experience.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Frank during the final stages of writing the book and into book production to get a taste of his experiences as a traditionally published author, learn about the journey that led to creating this new book, and to hear his thoughts about publishing and why he chose to self publish this book.
Frank Moriarty: Hi, I’m Frank Moriarty, I’m a published author, I’ve written 16 published books, and now I have a new book coming out about Jimi Hendrix, Modern Listener Guide: Jimi Hendrix, and I’m going to release this book through BookBaby.
Having traditionally published so many books in the past, I’m aware of problems that happen with authors losing creative control. That can be anything from the content of the interior and the way the book looks to the cover design, to the number of images and how the images are laid out. Having self published a few books previously, it seemed to me that BookBaby had taken all the concerns I had had with other times I self published and resolved those issues.
The first time I self published a book, it was kind of a do-or-die situation. I had a very timely subject, I had a specific timeframe for the book to be released, and then the publisher who was going to produce the book passed away. So, suddenly, I had to do this project all on my own and I had no choice but to educate myself very quickly about self publishing.
It turned out to be a very successful project, but the biggest thing I came away with was realizing the freedom that was provided to me by self publishing. At the same time, I saw that the changes the traditional publishing industry was going through were opening up more avenues for me, as an author, to take control of my own projects.
I’ve been a musician for quite a few years, and in that time we’ve seen the record industry go through all kinds of upheaval as musicians have been able to empower themselves to control their own releases. I was one of those musicians and have released a number of projects — with CDs manufactured by Disc Makers and distributed through CD Baby — so I thought that was a fantastic model for musicians to be able to control their creative destinies.
When I learned about BookBaby, I was very excited, because I figured those concepts were carrying over from the music industry into the publishing industry — which is also a field I’ve had a lot of experience in and itself has been undergoing revolutionary changes. The further I investigated what BookBaby was offering, the more excited I became, and I was thrilled to see the different services that BookBaby offers authors, such as interior formatting, cover design, editing — I mean, it’s really a one-stop location for any author looking to self publish a book.
Jim Foley, Director of Operations, BookBaby: We’ve been in the printing business for over 70 years, we’re part of a legacy company, Disc Makers, who’s been helping musicians, filmmakers, and small businesses bring their content to the marketplace, whether it’s a music album or film or some kind of printing for your business. 12 years ago, we got into book publishing through BookBaby, and since then we’ve been printing books and making eBooks and shipping them all over the world.
Jim Young, Director of Sales, BookBaby: Whether you’re a new author or you have experience in publishing like Frank, you’re going to have questions along the way, and we have answers. As Frank said, we’re a one-stop shop — we have everything you need to publish successfully: editing, cover design, manuscript formatting, eBook conversion, worldwide distribution, print-on-demand — plus we have marketing consultation services that will help you become an expert at selling your books. You can call us or email any time, and you’ll get to talk to a friendly, knowledgeable publishing specialist who’ll give you great information and expert advice.
Frank Moriarty: I’ve been working with a representative, Mike Taylor, who has just been fantastic — in fact, he’s almost been like a creative consultant for what BookBaby can do to make my book’s vision about Jimi Hendrix become a reality. It’s been a wonderful experience and every bit as reassuring as the experience I had with Disc Makers and CD Baby.
Mike Taylor, Publishing Specialist, BookBaby: My role here in the sales department is to introduce new authors to the world of self publishing and help them navigate the landscape of everything they need to publish their own book. A lot of authors aren’t quite sure of everything they need when it comes to self publishing, so every day I’m talking to them about concepts like design, formatting, and distribution and walking them through everything they need to do so they can finish writing their book and have a physical product out there in the world.
Jim Foley: BookBaby works with every kind of author, whether you’re a genre fiction writer, a children’s book author, a chef with a restaurant who wants to make a cookbook, a pastor in a church, a doctor, a businessperson… you name it, we work with a variety of authors every single day. In order to do that, we have to offer every kind of book style out there.
A landscape color hardcover children’s book is much different than a portrait 6″ x 9″ softcover genre fiction novel — so all those things have different ingredients: different paper stocks, different binding styles, different boards. If it’s case bound, if it’s hardcover, you have to have that equipment to make those kinds of books and we specialize in a wide variety. It’s challenging work to do and support, but we’re really good at it, and every day we ship all kinds of different projects all over the world.
Frank Moriarty has been writing professionally for decades, beginning with music reviews and interviews with artists ranging from Grace Slick to Robin Trower in the 1970s. In the years since, he’s expanded his fields of interest to include motorsports, the national space program, and other realms as an author, columnist, and writer. His latest book, Modern Listener Guide: Jimi Hendrix is now available at BookBaby’s BookShop.
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