Zach Fortier was a police officer in the Western US. Thirty years and four departments later, he had enough of “the cop life.” It sure wasn’t an easygoing Andy Griffith at Mayberry-type career — as an investigator, Zach specialized in K-9, SWAT, gang, domestic violence and sex crimes, and he eventually got diagnosed with PTSD as a result of his dangerous work — but today he lives with his wife in a quiet, calm and remote part of Colorado.
He also happens to be the author of four very popular “true crime” books. He writes all about his career experiences, the true-to-life cases, events and people that detail and define his 30 years in the force. CurbChek, his first, debuted at #11 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases list, and reached #4 on Amazon’s True Crime bestsellers. His stories are probably summed up best by the last few words of his book description: “law and order uncensored.”
“Every cop sees a lot of amazing things in the span of their careers,” he says, “and we all have made the comment ‘someone should write about this.’ So I decided to! I wanted the books to be as close to the real events and people involved as I could.” Judging from Zach’s reviews and comments from many of his fans, it looks like that’s exactly what he delivered.
How Zach Got Started Self-Publishing
After reading the horror stories of authors who have regretted going the traditional route, digital self-publishing and print-on-demand (POD) technology grabbed and held Zach’s fancy. “I could control content, artwork and formatting. This greatly appealed to me.”
But he did not find self-publishing his first book, CurbChek, very easy at all. “I had no idea of what to do or how. It was a case of trial and error… keep what works and get rid of what did not.”
How much trial-and-error? A lot, apparently. He changed his cover three times. Had his book edited five times, and even had it reformatted three. “Self publishing is a constant learning process. You need to accept that and be prepared for criticism.”
Overkill? Frankly, we’d be fools to argue with success.
Self-Publishing Observations and Tips
- “As far as promotion, I started out with blogs and word-of-mouth. Nothing seemed to really make an impact. I then tried different advertising [methods], making a note on what worked and what did not. Now I am very specific on what I do and when.”
- “Reviews are critical for your book’s sales as is finding the right advertising.”
- “I have heard a lot of authors complain about Amazon and the KDP Select programs, but I do not agree. I am sold on the KDP Select program. I use it to my benefit, and along with very select advertising, it can provide the author with a very successful venue to get their works out there and seen.”
- “I think that if traditional publishers don’t change their current models drastically, they will find themselves in the past along with 8-tracks and vinyl records.”
- “If you decide to self-publish… be prepared for a lot of work, there will be no huge publishing bonus, and no pinkies out wine snob parties, but in the end you will be very satisfied with the results because you have complete control over your work.”