Carole Whang Schutter

Carole Whang Schutter was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. She graduated with a degree in Psychology from the University of Hawaii and is an evangelical Christian. A widow, Carole has been a motivational speaker to live audiences as well as appearing on TV and radio shows. She now occupies her time writing novels, screenplays, and inspirational books. “September Dawn” is her first screenplay written in collaboration with Director/Producer Christopher Cain. She has had an enduring interest in religion and has researched most of the major world religions. A skier and a hiker, she has found Aspen to be the perfect place for her interests and a wonderful place to write. Carole has just completed the novel based on the movie “September Dawn.” Currently, she is working on several screenplays and a historical novel about her home state Hawaii. You can visit her at Carole Whang Schutter

Why Self Publish?

Your dream is likely to find an agent, then a publisher, get a huge advance, and hook an editor

Although a stigma is still attached to self-publishing, there are times when self-publishing is not only the sole alternative, but also the best alternative.

September Dawn was a story I had to write. While driving in the Colorado countryside, I came across a meadow ringed by mountains and I heard in my heart, a very clear word. Write a screenplay about a girl in a wagon train going to the California Gold Rush. The entire story played out to me. The problem was I had never written a screenplay, much less knew what one looked like. I had no knowledge of the screenwriting program, “Final Draft.”

After much wrestling over whether or not I was hearing from God or just going crazy, I used the Internet to research the trails the wagon trains took to California in the 1800s. I found the story I thought I had made up the Mountain Meadow Massacre. I cried when I read the story and knew that not only would I have to write it, but also I had no doubt that it would become a movie.

I wrote the novel September Dawn after the screenplay was already in pre-production. I had done a lot of research to maintain historical accuracy and had drawn my characters in order to clearly demonstrate their character motivation within the tapestry of history. It’s important to know your characters and setting while writing a screenplay. Like poetry, a screenplay has to be tightened up every word must count.

So much was left unsaid in the movie because of time limits. That is why I wrote the novel. However, like all other first-time novelists, although I had an agent, I still suffered a series of rejections. As time went by, and the movie’s release date approached, I faced serious time constraints. I wanted to capitalize on the opening of the movie by having the book released around the same time. But my agent told me that no publisher could or would put it out that fast. My editor, Kathi Macias, recommended that I go the self-publishing route. She had self-published with terrific results and suggested Authorhouse.

I was disappointed not to be able to use a traditional publisher but realized I couldn’t miss that window of opportunity. I discovered some very famous and hugely successful authors had started their writing careers by self-publishing. Some of them continue to self-publish because, as one author told me, “I get to keep all the money.”

Jack Canfield self-published his first book. When he and Mark Victor Hansen compiled their first Chicken Soup for the Soul book, 140 publishers turned them down. At over 170 million books and still counting, they are among the most successful authors on the planet.

Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad, which has been on the NY Times Bestseller Lists for seven years, self-published after being turned down by countless publishers and agents.

I’ve learned that unless you are a best-selling author, most publishing houses won’t help you with advertising. So even if you publish through a traditional publisher, you are still expected to self-promote your book. It took me a while to realize that I needed to learn how to market my books myself.

I am now writing two other books, the first is an inspirational self-help book for which I already have an offer. (I’m still deciding whether to name my inspirational book The Answer to Miracles or The Answer to Life. Help me out here and tell me what you think.) But this is my dilemma. Do I wait one-two years to see my baby published, or do I do it myself? Because I am learning everything I can about marketing and promotion, I should be well-equipped to promote the books myself. In my

case, my main concern is timing. My second book is called The Ohana, which means family in Hawaiian. Spanning the 20th century, it is a historical family saga about three generations of three families in Hawaii. On its completion, I will be faced with the same self-publishing quandary.

If you are an author trying to decide which route to go, I would certainly first try to get an agent and a traditional publisher. However, getting an agent can be as difficult as getting a publisher. Good agents are typically busy and it is difficult to sift the good agents from the sharks. Warning. Never use agents who charge “reading fees.” Also, beware of agents who send you to “professional editors,” who are most likely to give a kickback to the referring agents. Look for good, credible editors on your own before you send your manuscript to an agent. Get recommendations from fellow authors. Otherwise, do your homework and Google the agents and the editors. A great resource is the Preditors and Editors Web site

Finding agents, editors, and publishers takes a great amount of time, sometimes as long as a year. But if you have the time and a great manuscript, it may be worthwhile. Even so, be ready to market your book yourself.

If you don’t want to wait and you can afford to self-publish, this might be the ticket for you. It may be the only way if you can’t get an agent or a publisher. Your dream is likely to find an agent, then a publisher, get a huge advance, and hook an editor who believes in your book so much that he or she helps you promote it. Unless you’re Jenna Bush, Hillary Clinton, or Barrack Obama, I wouldn’t count on that happening.

Authorhouse was great. They provided me with a wonderful finished copy. Their costs are fair and they are very professional. They run promotions where an author can buy advertising in major newspapers at reduced prices and periodically have book sales for their authors. I have never encountered a problem with them. I would definitely recommend them. Who knows? You might be the next Jack Canfield or Robert Kiyosaki.

If you are keen to try your hand turning your novel into a screenplay, I am offering a free ebook of my screenplay and the double blue one line which is the daily production schedule with proof of purchase of my book, September Dawn.

Meanwhile, keep writing, and never give up.

September Dawn