After I let my friends and family know about the book, I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of happiness directed my way about it.
See, I’ve been busy educating myself in the past couple of years about the writing and publishing worlds, and I know that there is a certain amount of, shall we say, hostility, that is directed at the endeavor of self-publishing from the direction of the traditional publishing establishment. And a part of me wants to gently shake my friends and family and tell them that they shouldn’t be so excited about my publishing a book like this.
It isn’t that big of a deal.
Any schlub could do it.
It’s not like I’m “really” an author. It’s not like I have a publishing contract or any sort of imprimatur.
I just wrote an account of a hike that I took on my own two feet. I spent a few months getting it all down, and then I had my husband read it over. He made suggestions; I made corrections. Then I just used a free image manipulation software to put together pictures of my gear and the pictures that I took on the hike. All of it was slapped together into a Word document, and then uploaded using CreateSpace. A few rounds of revision later, I ordered the proof copy and was able to hold it in my hands.
It needed work, but it was still beautiful to me.
My husband reread it. I reread it. More corrections. I went through a complete recreation of all of my images (because I didn’t know that I needed 300 dpi for my photos when I first created the image files). I edited the text for clarity. I corrected typos. I didn’t work with an editor, or a designer.
I just did it.
That’s what all the people who decry self-publishing say. It isn’t a “real” book. It isn’t as good as one published by a publishing house. It should even be put in a “special” section so readers don’t buy it thinking that it’s a real book, according to some people.
So I don’t have a contract that severely limits the amount of money that I’ll receive for my work – for what makes the book unique – my writing. I don’t have an agent to take a cut in perpetuity. I don’t have to worry about when my rights to my work will revert to my control.
In exchange for that, I might only ever sell copies of my book to friends and family. Or maybe not. I’ll keep it on the virtual shelf and I’ll write more and see what happens.
But no matter what, I believe that it wouldn’t matter if I tried to shake my dad and tell him that he shouldn’t be so proud of a self-published book. It wouldn’t make him any less proud of me.