What It Feels Like to Self-Publish

On September 15, Runner’s Discovery Journal, my hybrid memoir/interactive inspirational self-discovery journal (yes, I’m reinventing multiple genres here), will be available on Amazon.

So when readers can click “buy” on Amazon, will I be a published author?

The word has become indistinct, and lost distinction. We need new words (or meanings) for this new landscape, but it needs to settle first.

For now, I’ll say no. Publishing has never just been about the economics of distribution. It has always been about imprimatur, and about creating a polished, quality product to live up to the commendation. If your book got published, someone had decided your work was worth investing in and sharing, and helped you make it better. I chose to do this book alone (almost: I hired partners for design and proofing) because I wanted to learn. And like a two-year-old, I wanted it to be all mine. That made it “safe.” Next time, I’ll grow up (and man up) and enlist others in the vision.

That said…

As small-scale or even arbitrary as my ambition was with this, when I held my galley in my hand for the first time a few days ago, I felt a surge of pride and emotion, so much so that I shared that photo up there on FB. It wasn’t the pride of having arrived – there was no imprimatur, no paycheck. (And since I’ve been paid for writing and editing at pretty much every job I’ve had, that’s not really what I’m hungry for.)

This was truly and purely the pride of authorship. I was frankly knocked over by what it meant to me. If you have even the inkling of the notion that authorship would make you proud, I strongly encourage you to GO FOR IT.

The book I held in my hand was truly a creation of my work, my inspiration, my perspiration. I had had the vision and the determination to carry it through to the end—a struggle with myself that I had lost during earlier creative solo projects.

Pride also has a flipside: Vulnerability. But having to work through those feelings means I’m out of my comfort zone – something else I wouldn’t have expected. And that’s a good thing.

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