The Last Block in Harlem – Self-Publishing Success

Earlier this month we looked at Irish self-published author, Enda Murray, travelling around the midlands and west of Ireland selling his book, Doom and Gloom (Me Arse!!), an anti-recession book of poetry. Well, it seems self-published authors will stop at nothing to shift those volumes, though, Christopher Herz is a little different. Herz left his job as an Advertising Copyrighter to pound the streets of New York City selling 1100 copies of his self-published novel, The Last Block in Harlem, a fictional account of life in a Harlem neighbourhood, or as Herz himself describes it, ‘a love letter to my neighborhood’.

What is a little different about Herz is that he does not see himself as a self-published author of the future. Instead, he sees himself and Canal Publishing, his own imprint, as an independent publisher for other aspiring authors. Herz published the book in June and although a few stores in Manhattan have agreed to stock his book on consignment, all of Herz’s 300+ sales have come directly from the author selling to ordinary New Yorkers going about their daily business. Herz takes ten copies of his book out onto the streets every morning to sell and refuses to go home to his wife in their fourth storey apartment until he has sold all of them.

Herz hopes one day Canal Publishing will be as respected as City Lights Publishing, an independent publishing press he greatly admires. Herz believes in the his neighbourhood and the community attitude where an author can take 30 seconds of a passer-by’s time and sell a book for $10. It is with this New York style savvy Herz hopes to turn Canal Publishing into a success.

Here is Christopher Herz’s blog for Canal Publishing and a brief extract from his novel.

“With Namuna back, I no longer wanted to stop anything from moving. There was no need to capture moments because everything I needed was right next to me. Outside our drawn curtains the women in other bedrooms paced around looking for someone to look at them. Lonely men leaned outside of their windows and smoked cigarettes, while married ones took a look at the street to see if there was any excitement. Up 155th the graveyard stirred. Across the bridge, games were being played – but up here, in this 4th floor walk up, for the moment, we were still.

We were still.”

-The Last Block in Harlem

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