Monday, January 25, 2010

Latino Book Tours: Cibolero, by Kermit Lopez

ISBN: 978-0-595-43567-8

For years, Antonio Baca lived the wandering and restless life of a Cibolero, or buffalo hunter, following the great herds that roamed the endless Llano Estacado-the high plains of a region that would one day be New Mexico. After marrying and settling down, Baca has finally found a modicum of peace in the home he built for his growing family.  But Baca witnesses the transformation of Nuevo Mexico from an isolated colonial outpost of the Spanish empire to a province of the newly independent nation of Mexico and, finally, to a land conquered by the avaricious americanos. Following the United States's seizure of New Mexico, Antonio and his countrymen find themselves treated as foreigners and second-class citizens in their own land.  When his daughter, Elena, is kidnapped by a band of invading Texas Rangers after the American Civil War, Baca desperately tracks them across the llano of New Mexico and into Texas using his skills as a Cibolero. Terrified for his daughter's safety, he plunges into the world of the gringos, and discovers just how much the americanos have changed his homeland. But as the days pass without any sign of Elena, Baca fears for her life-and his own.

On one level, Cibolero is an action-oriented adventure tale as Antonio Baca sets out to rescue his daughter from an invading band of Texas Rangers using his skills as a Cibolero hunter. 
On another level, Cibolero deals with racism, ethnicity and society in the “old West” and the historical ties of large parts of the present western United States to Mexico and Spain.  Cibolero is a fictionalized account of a true but overlooked part of U.S. history.

About the author:

Kermit Lopez wrote Cibolero after researching his family ancestry, which spans four hundred years of New Mexico history.  He received electrical engineering and law degrees from the University of New Mexico and lives with his wife and son in Albuquerque.   Mr. Lopez is also the author of the novel The Prodigy.

Unless you have been burying your head fully and completely in books like our friend Humberto the Bookworm Hamster, you have been hearing the discussions about self-publishing.  And more likely than not, you have even formed your own opinions regarding self-publishing.  It seems most of the conversation on the matter stems from parties who have strong opinions one way or the other.

I must confess that I neither have a strong opinion regarding self-publishing, nor do I have the slightest clue about what self-publishing really means.  That's why when I finished reading Cibolero, by Kermit Lopez and searched to see which publishing company was investing in Historical Fiction that centers around the POV of the native community at a point in time when a young America was expanding it's territorial holdings, I was disappointed, but not completely surprised (see yesterday's post), to find that in order to get this fine novel out into the world, the author had used a Print on Demand Publisher. 

I seized the opportunity while hosting Kermit Lopez and Cibolero as part of his Latino Book Tour to ask the author if he would share with us a little about his experiences in the realm of self-publishing, and in the meanwhile answer some very basic questions I had about the process.

The following is a conversation we had over electronic correspondence:


Kermit, I'm curious as to whether you shopped around your Cibolero manuscript and later decided to self-publish, or if you decided from the beginning you were going to go the self-published route.  Have you encountered any bias because Cibolero is self-published?  What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages that you have found with self-publishing?  Will you continue to self-publish in the future?

I did initially attempt to shop the manuscript around  and targeted a number of mainstream publishers.  I actually had some interest from an editor with a New York publishing house, but when she presented the novel to her editorial board, it was turned down, despite her efforts to champion the book.  At that point, I decided to consider POD publishing on demand.  There were several reasons for this.  First, my first novel “The Prodigy” was POD published and I had a bit of experience with the process.  

Second, as a patent attorney, I had worked on some POD patent applications for Xerox (one of our clients) covering some POD printing technology, so I was encouraged with the technology and the process.  I think the trend will be more POD and self-publishing, particularly given the advent of the Internet along with social networking sites such as Facebook, etc.  In other words, I see no stigma with POD and self publishing.

One lesson I learned from my first POD book “The Prodigy” was not to rely solely on my own editing skills.  With Cibolero, I actually hired a former editor to review and proofread Cibolero.  I would encourage any aspiring writer who wants to follow the POD path to use the services of a good independent editor.   There are many available and they vary in pricing but it’s well worth the cost.

I think a novel like Cibolero, which deals with a different take on US and latino history lends itself to POD publishing.  In other words, Cibolero is something of a niche book.  It is basically an “old fashioned” Western but from a Latino perspective.  Most people I have run into find the POD publishing aspect of the book interesting and “new”.   I have encountered very little in the way of POD stigma.  One disadvantage of POD publishing is that it really is up to the writer to be his or her own marking guru.

When (and if) I ever complete another novel, my plan is to first pursue mainstream publishers but also consider the POD publishing path.   
Thank you, Kermit.  This is all really interesting.  Can you explain to me the difference between self-publishing and POD?  I notice the book is available through major retailers like amazon and target, do all POD publishers guarantee this sort of placement, or can you talk a little bit about distribution?

Does the POD company provide any services at all, besides printing? what about cover art design and layout?

How does POD work? Do they print a number of books at a time, or do they wait for a certain number of orders before publishing and distributing?

In these days of diminishing royalties, does POD also offer the author higher percentages of royalties?
I should have explained that POD is basically a form of self-publishing, the difference being that the POD publisher provides some traditional publishing services such as distribution through Amazon, etc.  Not all POD publishers have this kind of placement but the majority of them work with Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Besides printing, some POD publishers do provide editorial services and some marketing services, along with cover art design and layout.

POD works in that the books are printed as an order arrives (e.g., someone buys an individual book through Amazon), rather than holding large amounts of printed books in stocks.  
POD publishers also have a higher royalty rate than that of traditional publishers.
Thanks, Kermit.  As you can see, this is all very new to me.  I appreciate your willingness to educate me!

This was really informative for me, but I still have some questions.  Luckily, because I'm hosting Cibolero's Latino Book Tour, author Kermit Lopez will be around today answering questions.
Please join me in asking any questions you may have about Cibolero, Kermit's writing habits, or the POD process.  And let us know what your experiences are with POD publishing!

This is a giveaway tour-anyone who leaves a message or comment today will be entered to win a copy of Cibolero!

Follow Kermit Lopez and Cibolero throughout his Latino Book Tour:

Mon Jan 25th: Sandra's Book Club
Tues Jan 26th: Musings 
Wed Jan 27th: Latino Book Examiner
Thurs Jan 28th: Mama XXI
Mon Feb 1st: Heidenkind's Hideaway
Tues Feb 2nd: Efrain's Corner
Thurs Feb 4th: TBA 
Fri Feb 5th: Regular Rumination

Support your local independent Bookstore to purchase 
Cibolero, by Kermit Lopez
ISBN: 978-0-595-43567-8


or purchase through amazon:


  1. Hey, Kermit. Thanks for your input on the world of self-publishing. I just want to add one thing about marketing being the one disadvantage on POD publishing: In actuality, the writer is the sole marketer of the book, no matter which publisher published it. Trust me, my first book, "Esperanza," was published by Floricanto Press, a small Latino publisher in San Fran, and they did next to nothing to market my book. I have been doing it all. And that's not just my input. I've had author friends who've had their books published by big publishers like Random House, and they tell me the same thing--they do all the leg work, while the publisher collects the big bucks.

    So, I guess what I'm saying is: The writer is the number 1 (and only 1, really) salesperson.

  2. Hey Kermit, good of you to be here! I have a pressing question but i'm afraid it would be a major spoiler. Let's see if I can ask and you can answer cryptically w/out giving anything away:

    about the end: WHY?!!!!!!!

  3. Hey Sandra, that's a really good point. I hear that all across the board now, even if your book is picked up by a publisher, you need to work your rabo off to market yourself as an author and your book for sales.

    I wonder, with the shrinking advances and royalites paid by suffering publishing houses is POD the future?

    Why is there so much negative talk about POD?

  4. Hi Nilki, thanks for asking about the ending. I wrestled with the ending, but determined that this was the way for Antonio to overcome his own anger and resentment. It would have been too easy for Antonio to take the alternative. Had he done so, Antonio would have been no better than those who kidnapped his daughter.

  5. I think a lot of the resistance to POD has to do with change. POD serves a niche that was unmet by the major/traditional publishing houses. We live in a time of individual empowerment through technologies such as Facebook, Google, etc. POD is one example of that change. Authors can now become published and essentially on an equal footing w/the large publishing houses through POD. POD is not perfect and has its negatives, but no more so than that provided by traditional publishing companies. POD is an attractive alternative to traditional publishing.

  6. Thanks Kermit, I agree with you. It was great having you here, I think this subject of POD is something I'm going to explore further. Thanks for helping me get the dialog started!

    And yes, you're totally right about Antonio, but still...(!)


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