Friday, January 08, 2010

Setting sail with author/publisher Ann Mullen
By Alex Carrier

    In an economy that is sending many Americans down the path toward creating their own businesses, Greene County resident Ann Mullen has a good head start –a 10 year head start. Since moving to Greene County with her husband and family in 1999, Mullen has lived a second career as both writer and publisher of her Jesse Watson mystery series.
    “I had never thought of being a writer until we made the move to Greene County,” admits Mullen who retired from her job in the engineering center at Phillip Morris before moving to Greene. “My husband started it by suggesting I write my dreams in a journal. Then I entered a short story contest and the book followed.”
    While Mullen enjoyed the process and got support from family and friends after finishing her first book, the publishing world was not as receptive.
    “Once I wrote my first book, I decided I wanted to have that book in my hand,” explains Mullen, “but all I got from mystery publishers was rejection. When you have exhausted all your avenues, most people just give up but some of us are headstrong and won’t give up.”
    Mullen credits much of her inspiration to become her own publisher to Dan Poynter's “Self-Publishing Manual.”
    “It was the best book to use as a guide,” says Mullen. “He explains everything you have to go through. After my experiences with publishers and hearing stories from other writers, I decided that if my only option was to use a vanity press or do it myself, I would do it myself. I would have complete control of everything.”
    “Once I made up my mind, I started my own company, paid my dues, paid my fees, and took all the other necessary steps to becoming a publisher,” explains Mullen. “You can’t win or lose if you don’t try.”
    Mullen tells other entrepreneurs her bottom line truth. “One of the problems with self-publishing is that all the money is going to come out of your pocket,” warns Mullen. “Expect to put out a hefty sum to pay others for the work they do so you can create a quality product. It’s all about the money – which is the title of my next book.”
    Mullen warns would-be writer/publishers to be willing to invest a lot of time as well. “It is a full-time job,” she admits. “You’re writing, dealing with proofreaders, layout, graphic designers, printers, marketing, and bookkeeping, while trying to keep your readers happy.”
    “It can be done,” stresses Mullen. “I have had my own form of success and a lot of that is because of my readers. They have gotten behind me and kept me in business.”
    Those readers/fans will be happy to know her sixth book “Death on the Bella Constance” is now in print. This time, her main characters take a cruise to Bermuda but, as in all good mysteries, the trip turns into a working vacation as bodies start piling up on this “cruise to die for”.
    Mullen invites anyone interested in self-publishing to contact her.
    “I had people who helped me through the process,” says Mullen. “I want to help others if I can.”
    Those wishing to contact Mullen or looking to purchase any of her books can do so online at or by phone at 434-985-1957.
This article's first print was November 9, 2009 in the Greene County Record where you can read Alex Carrier's weekly column. To read other articles about Ann Mullen be sure to visit

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