My partner, Robert, and I spent six months self-publishing books last year. It was grueling, writing and re-writing, editing and re-editing, researching all of the print on demand companies, applying for and buying ISBN numbers so the P.O.D. company isn’t the “publisher” of your work, you are, working with bar codes, learning new programs to create pdf files and modify jpg image files, learning how to correctly paginate, designing and creating back and front covers, yada, yada, yada. Self-publishing is a hateful, time consuming amount of work and definitely not for the faint of heart.
In Robert’s case, he wrote the three stories in his book over twenty years ago, so they first had to be brought back out into the light and dusted off before doing anything else.
In my case, I self-published three new books. I had worked on the sequel for eleven years. The preschool book was actually an afterthought, because I felt some of the poems were too young for “Barking Spiders 2”. Drawing my own illustrations was also tedious and time consuming, but after making the decision to self-publish, it was something I wanted to do.
Once the books were ready to go, we uploaded them to the P.O.D. company and got in the queue, waiting our turn to have them printed. In the meantime, we decided to go ahead and publish them in ebook format first, while we waited for the print version. Holy crap. No one tells you how crazy it is to do that. Each ebookstore has their own requirements for uploading a book and its covers. Oh, and some require a separate ISBN number and bar code. That can get expensive. Some require uploading in a PDF format, some in ePub, some in Microsoft Word.doc., and all have different royalties and ways they pay, like direct deposit or PayPal.
Okay, that brings me back to the original question: which would you rather read, books or ebooks?
Robert and I talked about it at great length, after our experience, cuddling on the couch with a cup of coffee. The ebooks on a PC, Kindle or Nook device are certainly the new rage, but we both agree, nothing is better than reading a physical book. I don’t know, there’s just something special and unique about a physical, honest-to-goodness REAL book; the weight of it in your hands, the smell of the paper and ink, the anticipation of what will happen in the story when you turn the next page, and the most important thing of all, having a real book in your hands creates a real and caring relationship with the book, the words, the characters, and even the author… and no batteries are ever required.
What’s your opinion?
CJ Heck is a published poet, writer, blogger and author of four books. For excerpts and more information, please visit: http://www.barkingspiderspoetry.com. CJ is also a Vietnam War widow.