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The Roundabout Blog

The Wise Man on the Hilltop

I know the benefits of mentoring. Much of what I’ve learned has been at the shirttails of great thinkers and great doers. I’m proud to have learned great lessons and to share this wisdom with others.

One of the wisest lessons I gained from a self-publishing guru (my word, not his) is that successful authors are those willing to learn the ropes, grow in knowledge, and venture into the marketplace with greatest confidence in the high quality product they’re offering to their readers and customers. Those who arrive asking for help, but are not willing to do the work or “walk the walk,” are quickly advised to choose a vanity press company where they aren’t required to do a thing themselves or choose from one of the drag-n-drop publishing sites that cost little to nothing and will earn them little to less, and are shown the door. That’s brave … and pretty smart.

I can’t imagine that anyone aspires to be another person’s “time suck”. But in our sound bite society and in the detail-oriented world that is publishing, some people find it easy to fall into the role of the question-laden newbie, hoping to have found a guru who will share all their time and wisdom for free. It’s neither practical, nor courteous, but some people feel that their manuscript entitles them to a Master’s education on the house.

I aspire to be like that mentor, sitting on a hilltop at an intersection of paths. How Redbrush works with authors might look a little like this ...

The Redbrush navigator sat on his cushion watching the birds and marveling at their amoeba-like formations. A man approached and sat before him.

“I have a manuscript. What must I do to publish my book?”

The navigator handed the writer a scroll and said, “Read this. It will provide you the information and instructions you need to get started. Then …” The man gawked at the navigator and interrupted.

“Wait a sec. I write. I don’t read. Can’t you just tell me what to do?” The navigator motioned down a path that wound down into the valley to the man’s right.

“Take this trail to the valley below and publish your book with someone who will do it all for you. It will be costly and they won’t care about your book’s quality; it probably won’t sell well, but this is what you seek.”

“Gosh,” the man said, looking down the slope, “that looks like a long walk. It took me fifteen minutes to get here with Mapquest. Isn’t there a quicker way?” The navigator gave the man a little shove and the writer (gently) tumbled down the hill and was in the Vanity Press valley in no time.

A woman approached next. “Sir, I have a manuscript and want to publish it.”

The navigator offered her the same scroll and suggested, “Read this. It contains the information you seek and the path to follow to easily publish your book. Once you’ve … ” The woman stared at the navigator and cut him off.

“I thought this was going to be easy.”

The navigator nodded. “It can be. If you tell me what you want to accomplish with your book, I can help you decide what help you require and what kind of budget you’ll need.”

“I want to spend as little as possible,” she replied. The navigator gestured to the trail that steeply descended into the valley at her left.

“Take this path to the valley and publish your book with one of the do-it-yourself sites that costs very little. The book’s quality will be entirely up to you; it probably won’t sell well, but this is what you seek.”

“Wow,” the woman said, looking down the hill, “that looks like a steep walk. My GPS doesn’t get signal up here. Isn’t there a faster way?” The navigator gave her a little nudge and the writer tumbled down the hill and was in the little-to-no-cost-or-sales valley quite quickly.

The navigator sat patiently as a teenager approached and offered “knuckles” to him. He obliged and they “blew it up” with much silent fanfare.

“I want to publish a book.” The navigator motioned to the teen’s head. She removed her ear buds and started over with a gracious nod. “I want to publish a young adult novel.”

The navigator held out the scroll. “Read this. It has the information you seek and will help you get started. Then …” he hesitated, waiting for the teen to cut him off. The youth was silent. “Then, when you’ve read through it and are ready to talk about your book and answer some clarifying questions, we’ll begin.”

“Thank you, sir. I love to read. Awesome looking scroll, by the way.” The navigator motioned to a helper who had arrived without a sound.

“One of my team will be at your disposal throughout your journey. They’re at the ready to help when you need them.” The teen followed the helper beyond the peak and came to sit in a pleasant oasis. She unrolled the scroll and started to read.

The navigator sat silently and checked baseball scores on his Smartphone. “A good day.”

Every journey begins with a first step. If you’re wanting to indie-publish your own book—be it fiction or nonfiction, a children’s book or poetry, a photo book or collection of paintings—Redbrush was created to guide you on the path to earned success. If the author-centric path isn’t to your liking, the trails to other, more expensive and/or hands-off options are readily available. We want you to you choose the best path for your book.

For some of you, Redbrush will be the right solution. We’re here to help. After our initial conversation, where we’ll learn a little about you and your project, we trust you’ll want to learn how to indie-publish better and smarter than many do. If you’re willing to commit to your book’s best journey, we’ll commit, too.

See you on the trail. Be sure to take a scroll as you go. (Our free publishing guide, "The Compass", is available for a free download here: