There’s a saying that “we all have a book in us”. That may be true, but the process in getting the book out can be the hardest thing in the world for some.
Do you ever wish you could write a book? Well, my advice as one who has written a book and self-published it, is start with what you already have. That is how I eventually got my little book “Dig It! Gardening Tips for Dogs” published.
I am a writer, I love to write things – poems, book titles, articles, story ideas. And I love talking about things to my friends. That is how “Dig It!” moved closer to being a book. It started out as a short humorous article in a local Dog club newsletter “Schnauzer Scope” and it went from there, until it was a real book you can hold in your hand and wonder at (or read and chuckle over!).
I told my friend Allyson Hean about the article and gave her a copy when she asked to read it. Ally loves to draw things. I remember her ‘scribbling’ the most gorgeous pencil drawings in meetings at the Parent Group at Mallala Primary School we were both involved in when our kids were younger.
Allyson took the article, did some lovely drawings and we decided, what the heck, we’d self-publish a book, as simple as that. I already knew a local printer who had done some work on things I was involved in, so we had a chat and away it all went.
I expanded the original article and Ally did more drawings and put the whole thing together using Microsoft Publisher. I applied for an ISBN for the book, and a bar code, and it was ready for the printer. We took along a disc that had our book on it and gave it to the printer with an order for 100 copies.
Those 100 copies disappeared quite nicely, so I ordered another 100 copies. Those were slower to disappear, but that was OK, my costs were covered and the important thing was that I was able to connect with other people who love gardening and who love dogs.
I have sold copies of my book for up to $20 and have also swapped copies for other people’s books. Some copies have been strategically given away for free. Once I had sold enough copies, I ordered 100 more copies, and the remnants of that print run and the copies I still have left.
I have had fun with the whole process, and I’ve learned things about self-publishing. I’ve learned it’s hard work to get distribution and you have to be ready to utilise opportunities as they arise. It is a long way from being a shy and retiring author locked away with our pen and paper, to being a bight and bubbly author promoting your book because you know it is the most fantastic Christmas present for those hard to buy for friends who love their garden and/or their dog and they don’t like anything else.
It’s also great for anyone with a sense of humour and it’s almost worth the money just for the lovely pictures Allyson has done!
If you think you would like to give this a try, there are lots of internet sites there to help you and there are also lots of self-publishing books available – visit your local library, in fact, build a stronger relationship with your local library – they may be willing to help you in many ways you haven’t even thought about. I’ve been to some great book launches at my favourite library, and I know if I had put on a book launch there I would have made more sales.
This website (click here) has lots of ideas but check out the hundreds of other sites to find ideas for your own book.
So that is my story. I am not anybody special, I’m just an ordinary person who had an idea and was prepared to take it to its logical conclusion. You too can publish your own book!