Christopher Rosow self-published the first two books in his Ben Porter Series: Book 1, False Assurances and Book 2, Threat Bias. His author story reflects a perfect mix of planning, perseverance and luck.
After False Assurances was accepted by a big-name agent, the book went on to be rejected repeatedly by major New York publishers. Christopher went from elation to dejection over the course of one summer, but persevered and came up with a new plan: self-publish. “It remains to be seen whether my plan was foolish or genius, but it’s leaning towards the latter,” smiles Christopher. “I self-published both books in May 2020 and together they’ve sold very, very well.” While Christopher is now working on the third book in the series, he hasn’t “quit his day job yet.”
False Assurances opens as FBI administrative staffer Ben Porter is dispatched to investigate a call that was initially considered a hoax. Ben discovers that there’s far more to the investigation, and the chase takes him from the high seas—Christopher draws upon his personal experience as a competitive sailor—to the big cities as Ben discovers the maritime border of the United States is woefully porous. After successfully stopping a terror attack in Book 1, Book 2, Threat Bias, begins with a promotion for Ben, but his notoriety has now made him—and his family—a target. Not only must Ben elude the very people who pursue him, but he’s also drawn into a terrifying world where technology is turned against users, and he’s in a unique place to stop a nefarious new weapon.
Christopher admits he had no goal and no outline when he began his new adventure as an author. He started writing as a diversion from the day-to-day of running a business. Has he revised his goals? “Now, for sure, my goal is to be a best-selling author,” he laughs. “As happy as I am to have held the #1 spot on Amazon for a couple of days, I see that as only a beginning. Sure, I could call myself a best-selling author because I was there for a brief moment, but I’d rather just continue to write materials that people want to read.”
While exciting, Christopher finds the “best seller” tag meaningless. His real reward is the feedback from individual readers who have contacted him to talk about how much they’ve enjoyed the stories. “That’s priceless,” he says.
Christopher chose print-on-demand as the most efficient way to reach readers. As mentioned, the books are available on Amazon. Through IngramSpark, they are also sold on Apple Books and in bookstores. The books are available in print and eBook.
When it comes to book promotion, we tell authors that “hope is not a plan.” Luck, however, is another story.
Luck comes into play a couple of times in Christopher’s author story. By good fortune, False Assurances was read by best-selling author James Patterson. “He called me and encouraged me to dive in,” reports Christopher.
Christopher was also fortunate that a well-known radio show host bought an early copy of False Assurances and talked on-air about not being able to put it down. “I know luck is not a plan,” admits Christopher, “but that burst of publicity created the word-of-mouth to keep sales going and to get attention elsewhere for reviews and commentary.”
Authors are wise to get book reviews in advance of the launch. Christopher finds that having many reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Apple Books lends credibility to claims that the story is worth reading. He is also hopeful that people who leave good reviews will recommend the series to their friends.
Christopher rounds out his book promotion with advertising on social media, Google and Amazon, mostly to build name recognition, not to sell books. Christopher says, “It’s a crowded arena with a lot of very, very talented and creative authors. I’m happy to be part of it, but also a bit intimidated by the big names.”
Christopher credits 1106 Design’s “comprehensive approach” for ensuring the books were produced professionally and completed on time. 1106 Design designed the covers for the two books, and we replicated the interior layout we created for the first book for Book 2 to ensure consistency across the series. 1106 Design also provided proofreading as part of its typesetting services and produced the final versions of the files required for upload to Amazon KDP and IngramSpark.
When asked what stage of the self-publishing process he found most challenging, Christopher didn’t hesitate: “Proofreading! UGH! I hate proofreading. Did I mention I hate proofreading?” While authors need to check the edits made by the proofreader, Christopher admits that authors cannot effectively proofread their own work. “Every time I think I’ve found all the errors and corrected them, more pop up!”
On the other hand, Christopher thoroughly enjoys the writing process. “I love getting lost in my own story, as narcissistic as that sounds. It’s satisfying to finish a re-read and think, ‘Yep, that’s it. That’s the story.’” While some writers might find rewrites to be tedious, Christopher finds it rewarding to challenge himself to make a story better and often finds himself diving back into the text, searching for improvements. In fact, one of his reflections having now self-published two books is that he wished he had more patience. Says Christopher, “There’s a perceived rush to get to market. In retrospect, I should have spent more time polishing the product—proofing mostly.”
“Persevere” is the advice Christopher would like to pass along to new authors. “It’s a long and winding road. At the end of the road, someone will read your story and hopefully, write a nice five-star review. And then you’ll know you’ve taken that reader on a satisfying journey with you.” Being a realist, Christopher acknowledges that one-star reviews will happen. “I remember my first one-star review, almost word for word,” recalls Christopher. “And while I don’t agree with the reviewer, obviously, it just proves that not everyone will like your story, and that’s okay too. Write for the people who enjoy your work, not the other way round.”
We wish Christopher, who is working on the third book in his Ben Porter series and has many more ideas in the hopper, continued success with his books, and we join thousands of readers who are eagerly awaiting his future publications!
False Assurances; Ben Porter Series: Book 1 /and/ Threat Bias; Ben Porter Series: Book 2
Author: Christopher Rosow
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Author website: www.ChristopherRosow.com