Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez was a military war hero who did two tours in Vietnam. His actions earned him the Medal of Honor and in the words of his daughter, Yvette Benavidez Garcia, “He has a following like no other.”
Yvette is an elementary school teacher who teaches 4th grade reading and writing. While four books have been written about her father, none were accessible to children. “All of my students learn about my dad at some point during the year, and about five years ago my students started asking if there was a book they could read about him. The books that were available contain adult language and I never felt comfortable referring the children to them.”
Writing a book about her father is something Yvette had always wanted to do but had never made the commitment to doing. Last year however, Yvette sat down to write a book about her father that her students could read. Written with her 4th grade students in mind, her goal was to pen an easy-to-read book about her father that would inspire children ages eight through fourteen and encourage them to never give up.
The result is her new book, Tango Mike Mike: The Story of Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez, published two months ago and selling well. To date her book has sold close to eight hundred copies. Yvette aims to have the book in every school, and hopes that companies will purchase the book in bulk and donate books to schools across America so that every child can be inspired by her father’s story. Indeed, this is already happening and her Facebook page features photos of smiling children holding copies of the book.
“And, of course, my other goal is to be on The New York Time’s Best Sellers List,” smiles Yvette.
Yvette often wonders why she didn’t publish her book sooner, but feels strongly that there is a time and a place for everything. “The time that I took, along with my research, brought me to this moment,” says Yvette. “Had I done it sooner, I don’t think it would have been as successful as it is today. For me, I needed to wait until this moment in time. Everyone has their moment, and mine is now.”
As her father had co-authored three books, Yvette was well aware of the constraints that go with traditional publishing firms. “I did attempt to use a traditional publishing firm, but the literary agent was ‘too busy’ at the time to see my work,” admits Yvette. “That one form of rejection was enough to make me research the indie-publishing world. I liked what I saw, so I went for it.”
1106 Design provided Yvette with editing, cover design, interior design, ten ISBN numbers, eBook formatting and upload, and softcover and hardcover uploads. “1106 Design also provided me with step-by-step guidance that I believe I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else,” states Yvette.
When asked which part of the publishing process she found most challenging, Yvette answers immediately, “The waiting! I had to learn to sit back and let Michele and Ronda with 1106 Design do their job. You have to have patience when publishing a book!” However, she appreciated the open lines of communication and quick responses from 1106 Design, and found the project management system shared between the author and 1106 Design team members to be very useful.
Tango Mike Mike: The Story of Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez is available in three formats: paperback, hardcover and eBook. Says Yvette, “I wanted to do all three formats of my book, including an eBook, because I wanted to appeal to all types of readers, especially the Digital Age readers.” Currently her book is sold on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble online. She is also looking into making the book available in some “mom and pop stores” in and around her hometown of El Campo, TX.
Yvette has an interesting story to tell about marketing her book, which she started doing initially on social media, including her Facebook page, personal blog, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter. As her father has a huge following, she marketed to all of his followers and wrote to several magazines that had previously featured her father and asked them to do a story about the book. She also wrote to area newspapers asking them to do a story. (Yvette says she received several responses indicating that they would feature her book.)
Then came the viral video.
Recounts Yvette: “A friend of mine posted the cover of my book on a video that he posted about my dad. Little did we know, but that video went viral after people shared it on their Facebook pages and has had over 14.9 million views combined so far. So, with that one post, my book got huge press. Now I have dates lined up to do radio talk shows. My next radio interview will be on Nuestra Palabra 90.1 FM Houston (“Latino Writers Having Their Say,” Tuesdays, 6-7 p.m.), and I will be featured in Latino Magazine and Handgunner Magazine. I also booked three author visits at schools in Texas. All from that one viral video.”
Having now successfully self-published her book, we asked Yvette for her advice for authors who might consider indie publishing. “My advice for first-time self-publishers is to do your research, read reviews on the company you’re thinking about going with, ask questions, and take your time. Don’t get in a rush and don’t skimp on anything. Go for that professional book cover, pay extra for the copy and line editor, buy your own ISBN numbers. Do it right. Also, search out those who have self-published and see what they did to be successful.”
Yvette recalls that attending an online Publishing Success Summit with Eric Van der Hope was one of the best things she did to learn about indie publishing. “It had over eighty book industry experts on it and I watched all of his interviews. I learned so much. He had interviews with book publishers, published authors, book cover designers, bloggers, editors, ghost writers, literary agents, etc. This summit is where I first learned about Michele DeFilippo and 1106 Design. The cost of the summit was the best investment I could have made in myself. I took lots of notes, and researched what to do and not to do.”
Finally, to authors who just can’t seem to finish their books, Yvette has this to say: “You’re procrastinating. My advice is to finish your project. Finish your book and get it published. Then, market the heck out of it.”
Tango Mike Mike: The Story of Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez
Author: Yvette Benavidez Garcia
Brief Synopsis: “Tango Mike Mike: The Story of Master Sergeant Roy P. Benavidez” is the perfect children’s book for those kids who want to learn about Roy P. Benavidez. It tells about a man who struggled through disappointing circumstances as a young child, overcame prejudice and discrimination, conquered paralysis, fought through two tours in Vietnam and became a decorated war hero and an American icon.
Amazon book page:
Author website: www.roypbenavidez.wordpress.com