Today, we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Kristian Zenz. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Kristian, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. We’ve love to hear an interesting investment story – what was one of the best or worst investments you’ve made?
Rather than call it the best or worst investment, I will call my first endeavor into publishing the “worst best investment” of my life. It is quite literally both at the same time.
Back when I was 14, in April 2018, I had a finished manuscript of what would become my first novel. I was desperate and excited to publish the piece. I felt it had merit, regardless if an audience considered the young age of its author or not. I didn’t know exactly where to start when it came to publishing– there were so many books in my school’s library, and so many at Barnes and Noble. I presumed it couldn’t be that hard to get my own book out there. How naive I was! Publishing my book was the most challenging thing I have ever done. I presume this feat will only be bested by finally signing a contract with a real publisher.
This is where the stipulation becomes evident– I had finally found a publisher who was looking to accept my submission. In a frenzy, in November 2018, I sent my manuscript to them, and they enjoyed it– at least, that’s what they said. It turns out that this process wasn’t typically how authors get their start, and become financially successful. What I had stumbled into was a vanity publisher, where the author has to pay the publisher to get published, instead of them paying you for the rights to publish your work. A hefty sum of money went down the drain for my family when this process wrapped up.
Were these services that my family paid for worth it? For a large part of this worth, time will tell. If I become a highly recognized author, and am able to live off the royalties from my work, then this initial publication would have been absolutely worth it. But, in this present moment, it was worth it, but only to an extent. I have learned a lot when it comes to publishing, and I have learned about editing, marketing, formatting, and cover deign with the help of this vanity publisher. They were able to get my book onto Amazon and Barnes and Noble, and do numerous things that I simply didn’t have the knowledge or power to accomplish as a 14 year-old. It was my first break into the world of literature, and my name was established, for better or worse. At the end of the day, this experience was a learning one, and there is definite value from it, regardless of the financial burden that was paid. It was a hefty financial mistake, and if we knew better, we would have looked elsewhere. But, I would say this terrible financial investment was a good personal one– it is up to myself to turn this “worst best investment” into the simple “best” one.
Read the rest of the interview here: