Okay, I'm going to come right out and say it: I've published a book.
In January I wrote 31 flash fictions, and when I finished I decided to go ahead and self-publish them as a collection. This was partly because people very kindly asked where they could read them, partly so I could have a permanent record of the project, and partly as a way of promoting myself and maybe, just maybe, having a 'real' publisher pick up the collection (or a collection at least) for their list.
So, it was a low key thing, just a little project to see if I could do it, see if anyone would like it, and it would give me and my friends a little keepsake.
Even during the whole editing, type-setting, cover-design and printing phases I never thought of it as any more than that. That was, right up until the book arrived on Wednesday.
There is something about the reality of the book which changed how I saw it. This was no longer just a little whimsy, it's an actual book. My perspective of what I had done changed in an instant. I held the book in my hands, saw my name on the front, spine, title page; saw all my words covering all of the pages, and realised that this was an actual thing that I should be proud of, rather than slightly embarrassed at my presumption.
You see, it hadn't occurred to me consciously, but up until that point I had been self-conscious about self-publishing my own collection. I thought it might come across as self-aggrandising and arrogant. People would think: Who is this guy who has decided for himself that his work is good enough for a book that we actually have to give money for?
But, once I had the book in my hands, I realised that this was really important to me. It was something I had slaved over and created, and something I was incredibly proud of.
With the book now a reality, I built a page on my website to sell it, and started telling people about it, and some of them came along and bought it. And these weren't all just kind friends, they were also writers who I respect.
So, today I have been finding envelopes and printing postage labels ready to send them out. In total, in the three days since the book arrived, I have sold 10 copies. This will never make it a best seller, but I am so pleased, and so proud. I have made this thing, and whatever people might think of it when they read it, I know that it's a good piece of work. And I'm no longer thinking about another publisher picking it up. It already exists, it is a thing in and of itself, and that's enough for me. The clamouring publishers will have to wait for me to write the next 31. What do you think? May?
The arrival of this book has managed to change how I view myself as a writer, and find a new level of self-confidence. So what if it's self-published. I think it's a good book, worth reading, and I've managed to do all the extra work (with help, I should add) to bring it into being. That should be worth more, not less, don't you think?
If you're interested in a copy of 31, you can find out more at http://www.calumkerr.co.uk/pp014.shtml.