"Penpal" Author Dathan Auerbach: From Anonymous Reddit Poster to Published Novelist

The Importance of Appearing Legitimate at All Times

"1000 Vultures is my Reddit user name, and so I couldn't just leave the name behind. There was this transition from being this anonymous dude on Reddit who was only known as 1000 Vultures to when the book was coming out and I had to give out my real name. I didn't want to completely leave 1000 Vultures behind, so when I bought my ISBN, I set up a DBA, or a 'Doing Business As' name, as 1000 Vultures. That way, I could use that a publishing company of sorts. Granted, I don't have any resources. I have a printer and an HP Deskjet center, but that's not really going to do the job. So 1000 Vultures is my 'publishing company,' but it's really just a name. It brings the two worlds together.

"One thing that I came across in my research is that most people, like retailers and publishers, don't like self-published books, because there's no quality control, or at least none that's inherently understood. With a big publisher, you have a whole team of editors and formatters who get the book ready for its official publication long before anybody reads it. There's a squad that at least makes sure it meets grammatical rules, it's legible, and it's not published in some annoying font. That's not the case for self-publishers.

"It's a small thing, but I thought if I could at least put another layer there, if I could at least have a second name there, it might help ward off people who have reservations about checking out self-published books. I thought, maybe people will see '1000 Vultures' and think it's a big publishing house.

"It's the stupidest thing in the world, it doesn't matter. There are plenty of books in Barnes & Noble released by big publishers that aren't good, and there are all kinds of self-published books that are bad. It's a mixed bag either way. It's just that the self-publishing market has exploded within the last couple years, due to these big success stories like Fifty Shades of Grey.

"The way I printed my book was through Create Space, which is this Amazon-owned company. It's a print-on-demand service, and the reason I did that was I don't have to have an inventory. I don't have to get 10,000 copies of my book and then sell them to my friends and at swap meets and set up booths at flea markets to unload all of these tomes. I didn't want to do that, so I went with this Amazon-owned company.

"Barnes & Noble is a competitor of Amazon's, so I don't even know if it's possible to get Barnes & Noble to stock a book like mine, because of the way it's printed, because of who's doing the printing. I had hoped that could happen, though. It would be really cool to see my book in their stores. I knew they would shy away from it because of how I went about printing it. So, it's available on their website, but not in the actual stores."

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