Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Book Launch in a Brave New World

I waited until I saw what it looked like before I wrote this post. I've been burned before.

It arrived an hour ago via DHL from CreateSpace. My self-published (although that isn't entirely accurate: Kim McArthur, Kendra Martin, the copyeditor and the proofreader at McArthur and Co. shaped the mss and turned it into a novel suitable for public consumption).

Okay--my semi-self-published novel, The Grey Lady, arrived today. I opened the box. I felt sick with terror. If you've read what I went through the last time a box of books arrived from a publisher, you'll know why. I lifted the top copy. The cover is a bit dark--no problem--CreateSpace said to expect that. Something to do with transparency being flattened. The designer and I can tweak and upload a new cover in a few weeks if I feel it's really necessary.

But I'm scared to open it. I'm scared it'll feel like a POD. I'm a book snob--I admit it. I was raised with print and I love books. I love them, like spend the-grocery-money-on-them kind of love. The page is part of the experience. Thanks to Kendra, I now understand how the layout and design of a book conveys the story too. We are not only reading words on a page--we are reading the collective consciousness of everyone who works on a book.

I open it. Deep breath. It's pretty damn perfect.
I'm pretty damn happy right now.

To sum up this month's adventure in self-publishing: Doing it myself has been the most respectful, empowering experience I've had with publishing to date. CreateSpace, Smashwords and Kindle Direct Publishing will change the face of publishing forever if they keep doing as they have been doing. It's not easy. You have to really want your book out there to do-it-yourself. But so worth it.

I don't believe self-publishing is having an negative impact on literature. I believe a corporate bottom line with shareholders to think about has a negative impact on literature. I believe that by empowering authors to tell a story their way, we are opening the door to critical thinking, to challenging our current beliefs. As a reader, I can stop whining about the lousy "bestsellers" I've been reading these days and go find my own bestseller. And when I do, I'm going to write a goddamned review that says so.

Okay, I'm getting giddy and philosophic right now. But hells bells! I had no hope of seeing this book in print last year and here it is. I don't care--I'm opening the champagne!

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