My husband sent me an email link one-day with a link to Createspace.com (which is now owned by Amazon.com). I could create my own book and have it available from Amazon.com. This felt too good to be true. But as I researched the process an idea took shape. It might really be possible to indie publish, without needing thousands of dollars up front and I could still sell my book available on Amazon.com. No, I wouldn’t be able to get big bookstores to stock my book, but I could get my e-reader versions available on their websites (Barnes & Noble’s Nook, for example). It was already well into the fall so I had to move fast if I wanted my book out in time to use for the 2012 advent season. Fortunately I have a gifted husband who helped me with formatting for both the e-reader and paperback versions, though there are online tutorials that can help you through the process. He is also a gifted graphic artist (though he’ll deny it if you ask) and was able to design the covers to both of our books. We managed to make the deadline, but just barely. My e-book version became available before Thanksgiving and the paperback just a few days before advent started.
I didn’t have a huge book launch and my marketing was mostly limited to social networking. At first I was discouraged. I wasn’t going to be a best seller this year. But one of the wonderful features of being an indie author is that you control when and how your book is available. This wasn’t the end. I could begin making plans for 2013. I made lists of local independent and religious bookstores that might stock my book next year and perhaps even let me hold a local author book signing or reading event. I started planning how many copies I should order to sell through my church or other local churches that might be interested.
In the mean time I also grew to love and appreciate e-readers. (I share my husband’s Kindle) While it will never replace a book for me, I like having so many books with me when I’m traveling or waiting somewhere. I never know what I’ll be in the mood for so it’s nice to have a selection. It’s also easier for me to use when nursing my son (or letting him sleep on me) because I only need one hand to hold it and one finger to turn the pages. It will never replace my well-worn copies of His Majesty’s Dragon or The Courtship of the Vicar’s Daughter; or produce the same joy as buying my mom a new copy of The Shell Seekers after her second (or was it third copy) literally feel apart in my hands when I borrowing it for the second time. I will never stop loving books, but I can see the benefits of e-readers and I do enjoy ours on occasion. I want to see more people reading more places and if e-readers help to do than I am all for it.
So I can finally call myself a published author. I find myself dreaming about how I will go about marketing my novel, though it isn’t quite halfway finished. I see my husband struggling to find time to market his own book while still working a full-time job and being a involved husband and father. No one ever said this process would be easy. We both struggle daily with balancing our commitment to marketing our books as well as working on the next ones and the rest of our lives. But it is amazing to realize that the very changes in technology that I sometime resent are what have made this dream possible for us.