Most readers who follow this blog or follow me on Twitter probably already know that I spent the better part of this past year working on a book of food-related essays. Those of you who are not aware – hey, I wrote a book!
I’m posting about it now only because i realized that, in the flurry of activity getting stuff ready for the launch, I haven’t really said much about it here.
Publishing a book is a whole lot of waiting, interspersed with flurries of often stressful activity, in which you do all the grunt work that would be the responsibility of a publisher, should you be so lucky as to score a deal with a mainstream publishing house, which is more and more rare these days.
There are all the things you never think of when you sit down with the intention of becoming a writer, instead picturing yourself banging away at a typewriter, a cigarette hanging from your lips, a bottle of whisky at your side like William Burroughs; or perhaps imagining yourself sitting on the veranda of a hotel cafe in the tropics, watching the world pass by and scribbling away in a journal like Somerset Maugham.
Publishing a book is less about the writing and more about things like business registrations, registering ISBN numbers, and the days of frustration as you tweak the settings so that the ebook version of your work actually looks right in an ereader (which, it turns out, is harder than it sounds). Self-publishing means that all the marketing and sales fall on your own shoulders. It means not having the luxury of writing a manuscript and then immediately moving on to the next one; it is having to put ideas on hold while you edit and tweak and sell your work, and yourself.
Not that I’m complaining. Because man, did I ever learn a lot. And I’m still learning every day. And I can’t wait to do it again, not just the writing, but the editing, publishing and marketing parts.
Because in the end, when I hold up the book that I wrote (or look at that box of 100 copies in the corner of my dining room – won’t you please buy a copy?), I can be proud of the fact that I didn’t just write a book, I MADE a book.
Awesome people helped me do the bits I wasn’t capable of, but I made that book. My decision, my work, my dedication to keep going and not give up.
I don’t think of myself as a braggart. I certainly try not to be, as it’s a quality I find unappealing in others. But today, I am giving myself double rock fingers, because, holy crap, I made a book. And it doesn’t suck!