Crow and her husband Gary discovered Arrowhead Resort on the shores of Lake Whitney in Central Texas in 1998 during a research trip for magazine articles and a possible fifth Falcon Press travel guide. Crow easily placed her decade-long travel writing career on hold to give all of her attention to the lakeside cabin and RV resort and restaurant bearing her name: Mel's Steakhouse. Thirteen years later she has a treasure trove of material to draw from and has set out to get some of it on paper, this time taking control of the projects herself.
"My relationship with Falcon Press is still a good one," Crow says. It's just that these projects are more personal than the guidebooks and I wanted to avoid some of the issues that always seem to crop up when there is a middle man." Like perhaps the fact that the second edition of her third book, Camping Colorado, had the wrong name on the cover? "I try not to think about that, but of course it's one reason I opted to self publish this time."
Speed also played a huge role. Unless you are a big name author with an ultra hot topic, the time from inception to print can be a year or more. Her newest book, titled Live Happy, is dedicated to a friend struggling with cancer, so Crow really felt the need to get it out there to help boost her friend's spirits.
And then there's the money. Crow expects to make roughly three times the amount per book that she earns in royalties on her guidebooks, and that's just on the printed copies. E-books should earn her even more.
She credits Amazon's self publishing division with helping her make the leap, likening it to the YouTube of print material. Her books become available for purchase on Amazon.com upon completion. "It's a marketing model that cannot be matched," she says.
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MHP Publishing is an independent publisher of guides designed to help you find the things that matter in your life and get the most from them. Current release: Live Happy, 10 Simple Questions to Help You Find the Happiness You Already Have. Future releases: Travel Happy, Go More, Experience More, and Enjoy it More, and Soup Happy, Restaurant Recipes You Can Make at Home.