In the Footsteps of Virginia Woolf and Walt Whitman
Have you ever applied for a job you knew you could do as well as anyone? a job you wanted intensely? and didn't get? And then, years later, have you been so very, very glad you weren't offered that job because life had something much juicier in store for you?
Well, I have.
And that is an apt metaphor for my publishing experience. I've had some prose and poetry published over the years in literary journals and in collections, but no books of mine have been produced by a "real" publisher. I did try. I wasn't overly ambitious, but for years I queried agents and sent manuscripts to small publishers. Nothing.
So I self-published. CreateSpace didn't exist for my first book but it's been my route for the others. I choose the "Free" option. I design and produce the "Interior" and "Cover" PDFs myself, using the guidelines and helpful articles CreateSpace makes readily available. I upload the documents and CreateSpace does the rest. I pay for proof copies — I'd be a fool not to because there's nothing like seeing the actual book to show you what you do wrong — or what the manufacturer does wrong. Proofs have revealed both kinds of mistakes. I could fix mine, and asked the folks at CreateSpace to fix theirs. The entire experience has worked beautifully for me.
Everything I have said about CreateSpace goes for Kindle: a simple ditto. My royalties month by month range from zero-to-tiny, but I was never in it for the money and I do not want to be famous. I just want my books to exist — for anyone who might want to read them.
Here's what I bring to the self-publishing task. I have word processing and other basic computer skills. Also, I happen to enjoy a project like this; in fact, I get quite obsessive. It does take time. I have the time.
And Now This Website
I went with weebly because my research told me it could be absolutely free (true) and would offer an extremely flexible set of possibilities (true). Here, too, my skill set and my tendency to get obsessive — and enjoy doing so — have been a help. Again: I am completely satisfied.
I love it that every single choice is mine: the writing itself — every word, every comma; the design of the book's cover; the look of every page; and, crucially, how much or little I "publicize." (Not much; I'm quite an introvert.) I have exceedingly smart friends, most of them writers themselves, who pore over my poems, my prose, even entire manuscripts. These are my unpaid and much-appreciated "editors." I often listen to them.
Often, but not always. The work is mine. I like this.