There are many reasons why an author starts to contemplate travelling the long and winding road to self-publishing. Like many paths we undertake in life – we sometimes find ourselves on a path we never originally planned to travel upon. When this happens, we find out that we don’t always have the sufficient roadmap to complete our journey successfully and safely. We might want to travel the highways of life like Jack Kerouac – taste the dust and smell the urban fumes – but when it comes to publishing a book without the safety nets, tents and overnight stove a commercial publisher provides to their travelling author – let’s face it – sometimes you end up pretty screwed.
Dreams have a habit of becoming dust and a chill up the back late at night for a self-publishing author isn’t the best foundation to fall asleep on. The promise of author stardom from those backpacks they give you at the AuthorHouse and Xlibris Saloons mightn’t be the best defence against the ravages of book reviews in the media, and that’s even when the local eagles take an interest in picking the flesh from your weary bones. Because when the time comes and the eagles are passing on your latest book – you know something’s up.
Careful planning for the self-publishing journey is what’s needed. No point in pitching your tent at the side of the road impromptu, swigging a mouthful from a bottle of whiskey and pitching your ‘old coot wants to earn a crust from his book’ sign into the dirt. The only passing interest along the way will be a few air-conditioned coaches passing by with successful authors on their latest American book tour. You’ll spot them easy. As they speed away into the distance, the author’s agent or publicist will usually hang out the rear window of the coach, point at you by the side of the road immersed in their cloud of dust, and screech in a high pitched voice: “Ya see, Laudum, I told yu that friggin’ ‘Nietzsche and Thelma Go to Manhattan’ shit wouldn’t work. See what becomes of ya when ya don’t listen to me.”
You will hear the words from that screeching voice and maybe even spend a few hours working on your own version of ‘Nietzsche and Thelma Go to Louisville’. But in the morning when you reach into the AuthorHouse or Xlibris backpack with your two hundred scribbled pages – you’ll find nothin’ to go with it – ‘cept of course, the promise of the dust of dreams and on line distribution to academic coyotes and fun-lovin’ relatives you’ve long forgotten the names of.
When you awake from your tent pitched at the side of the highway in the early morning, you will gather up your meagre belongings and hear the voice of a young farm-hand ask, “Hey mister, how much does self-publishing cost anyways?”
Shocked by his directness and brutality – you will answer him quizically; “If I had a cent in ma hand for every time I’ve been asked that, then I wouldn’t be knee-deep in ma own confusion and un-prepared-ness boy. Na quit messin’ with me while I take a count of ma fingers.”
You walk on your way counting one thousand for AuthorHouse; two thousand for Mill City with the returns deal; three thousand for Trafford…till you reach ten thousand for Xlibris; then you bury both your hands in your pockets and vow you will never take them out again, counting them of course before you put them away one last time.
To Be Continued…