Police Training is Handy in the Changing World of Publishing Or Why I Chose E-Book Publishing

Apr 20, 2013 | 2013 Articles, Going Green, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathy Bennett

One of the ways that KRL is celebrating Earth Day is to focus in this issue only on e-books. So check out this article by mystery author Kathy Bennett on why she chose to publish e-books only and be sure to check out all of the mystery e-book reviews & giveaways, along with a few other Earth Day related articles in our special Earth Day issue! You can also check out more Going Green articles in KRL’s Going Green section!

During one of my first days at the Los Angeles Police Academy, I was taught the phrase, “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome.” At the time, I didn’t know the phrase had been ‘borrowed’ from the United States Marine Corps. What I do know is that the phrase served me well in my years working as a Los Angeles Police Officer.

When faced with criminal situations where the conditions were shifting and changing and I didn’t have the personnel or the tools I needed to complete my mission, I improvised, adapted and overcame the problem.

Two years ago, after twenty-one years of protecting and serving the citizens of Los Angeles, I retired from the police force. Unlike some new retirees, I didn’t have any fear about how to fill my days. I’d been seriously pursuing my writing career for fifteen years, completing two novels and working on a third. I’d searched for an agent and a publisher, and while I’d received positive feedback, I hadn’t gained either one. I’d also begun to hear a lot about authors who were self-publishing their work.

Kathy Bennett

Further investigation led me to believe that publishing my books myself was a good choice for me. As a former cop, being in total control of my work and how it was produced was something that highly appealed to me.

Some of my closest writing friends urged me to reconsider, saying I was making a big mistake. In my gut, I knew it was the right choice for me. So, I improvised, adapted, and overcame the fact I didn’t have an agent or a publisher and I self-published my first book.

Everything I learned about the mechanics of self-publishing my book I learned on the Internet. It was an exciting time—and still is. Writers are sharing information and helping each other launch their books (and their dreams).

There are four things that came up time and time again as ‘must haves’ for a good self-published book:
• Write a good book
• Have the book professionally edited
• Have a professional-looking cover
• Be sure the book is formatted correctly for e-reading devices

I followed those guidelines and was lucky enough that my debut novel became a bestselling romantic suspense book for both Kindle and Nook. I don’t think most readers are concerned with who publishes a book. What they do care about is finding a good story that entertains.

Ten months later, I self-published my second book, and it too became a bestselling suspense novel for Kindle and Nook. Both books did well at Kobobooks and in the iBookstore.

Now, this is the part of the story where I have a confession to make. I never intended to become an e-book only author. When you self-publish a book there are avenues you can take to get your book into print form. There are several companies that provide print on demand (POD) versions of self-published author’s books.

I fully intended to offer physical print versions of my books, but my circumstances changed with the release of each of my books.

With my first book, A Dozen Deadly Roses, I was so busy promoting that book and writing the second book, that I never found the time to get a POD version in the works.

After I published my second book, A Deadly Blessing, I was approached by a well-respected agent, who offered to represent me in trying to sell my books to print publishers.

What that meant was, I felt I should wait before putting either of my two previous books in a ‘hold it in your hands’ physical form via POD. It was possible a publisher would want to release the print versions of those first two books—hopefully, along with the third book I’ve written, and the fourth book I’m currently working on. With all that said, currently, my books are only available in e-book form.

There is a good news/bad news aspect to my situation. By only being available as e-books, my stories are not using our Earth’s limited resources to print physical books. That’s a good thing.

On the other hand, there are still some readers who are not ready to forego holding a book in their hand. I’m not reaching those readers–and I’d like to. That’s a bad thing.

Where does that leave me? I’m navigating through a publishing industry that continues to shift and change at a rapid rate. Therefore, I respond the way I was trained…I improvise, adapt, and overcome.

Kathy Bennett was a police officer for 21 years, and is now a novelist. You can learn more about Kathy and her books on her website.


  1. Kathy –
    Self-publishing is a powerful tool for today’s writers — it’s letting many authors realize their dream of making their book available to potential readers and future fans.

    Obviously, as a bestselling author, you’ve now got a LOT of fans via your decision to self-publish!


  2. You are the reason I asked my kids to chip in for Kindle for my birthday. I wanted to read A Dozen Deadly Roses, then I got A Deadly Blessing. I loved both books and it was the best thing I ever did. You have saved my arthritic thumbs much pain because now I buy all my fiction books on Kindle. It is easier to hold and causes less hand stress. I can’t wait to read you third book…and your fourth. I wish you well with a paper print, but in the mean time I’ll read you, save paper and my thumbs.

  3. POD books use resources rather than waste them. With POD, no more books than are desired are printed. I think that’s still an environmentally-conscious decision. Many kudos for the brave and bold decision to self-publish. You’ve helped usher in a new age.


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