Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Recap on the 'controversy' behind "Proud Souls"

July 24, 2008

For those of you who aren't aware of this, "Proud Souls" began its life in controversy. It all began in the initial stages of preparing the finished manuscript for print--just after I made the decision to release the title under my own publishing company--Ozuna Publications. The first "press" that accepted my request to print Proud Souls turned me away as quickly as they said yes. Looking back now I think it's funny, but it wasn't funny at the time. To be quite honest, it hurt my feelings as much as it angered me.

The company is a small "christian" print press in the North Richland Hills (TX) area. I found them by chance when a friend of mine did some research to help me find a press to run my novel. I remember being very excited because as an independent author (for those of you out there) you know the costs associated with good print work for a book project are high, with minimal print runs in the thousands!!! This company accepted my request to run a mere 100 books. With my limited income at the time I figured I could sell the books via PayPal, package and ship them myself and the money I made would be enough to turn around another 100 books...and so on...and so on...etc... The objective was to run more books each time I sold 100 copies, thereby turning a greater profit percentage per book. In time I would get to a point where I could leave them and find a better press, who offered not only a better price-per-book (based on print run volume) but a better quality book. Needless to say, I never got that far with this particular company.

The day I went to pickup my first 100 copies of Proud Souls from this printing company, I felt something wasn't right. You know that gut instinct feeling you get when you know someone is up to no good? Well I had it...and my instincts proved me right again. I called the manager over, he showed me one copy of the book (which was part of the ORIGINAL 100 COPIES I sold) and then presented the cases of the books. He told me he would help load them in my truck and when I went to pay he lifted his hands, made a clapping motion and then said, "We don't want your money...we wash our hands of you and we wash our hands of this book."

This man stood there with this look on his face of disgust, as if somehow I did something to offend him personally. I looked around the counter and all the little cronies that worked there were hiding, huddled together as if I was going to go Postal on them. I couldn't believe it! I asked them why and the manager told me "...our boss doesn't want his employees putting (physically) their hands on this book."

With that I left...keeping my money and 100 (free) copies of Proud Souls. It wasn't until this week that I felt that way again...

Recently my book was purchased, read and ADORED by someone I just met. That person said they would share the book with a relative who was part of (not one, but) TWO book clubs in Arlington, Texas. I was very excited because I have been trying to get book clubs to accept Proud Souls as part of their reading list for some time now with NO LUCK. Well, it seems that relative read the book and guess what??? They LOVED the book too!!!

Now, you are probably saying, okay Bobby, how is this controversial??? Well it seems [that] the relative who LOVED my book told the person I just met--that they would NOT recommend my book to the book club for fear that members of the book club might judge her for reading my book. If you have read it, then you know its absurd but if you haven't, then I suppose you will have to make that determination yourself.

Proud Souls encompasses everything a good story should; from an archetypal standpoint it has everything from a general story viewpoint, it captivates every human emotion a reader could want from a novel: There is hate and love, longing and eroticism, confusion and clarity, joy and sadness. Anyone who reads the story will feel as though someone is playing tug-of-war with their emotions as I take the reader from one extreme to the other.

It has managed to find its way into the hearts of many readers, piled up some amazing reviews on and also found its way onto the shelves of a few independent bookstores. I have since landed a major print press and distributor and the book is registered with the Library of Congress and Ingram--meaning you can walk into any bookstore in the US and order a copy. As far as book clubs...well,
for now--NO BOOK CLUB for Proud Souls!!!

If anyone has suggestions as to how I might get a Book Club to take on Proud Souls as their next reading project, please, let me know! Until then... it will be left to the readers of the world to decide whether Proud Souls is a book to be shunned and hidden from friends and family or something worth embracing.

~Bobby Ozuna
"Drawing Stories...With Words"

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