Monday, February 23, 2009

Self-Published and Proud of It - Meyer

I was recently asked to be on a panel at Write Canada! – “Self Published and Proud of It.” This has caused me to reflect once again upon my choice to self-publish.

The very first book I did with Infinity Publishing was a bit of an experiment – to test the self-publishing waters, as it were. I took my smallest book because I’d rather risk something I put weeks into - not months. The book was called “A New Friend for Christmas.” I did it on a print-on-demand basis so received one copy and then people would presumably flock to Amazon and buy the rest. I gave away the one copy of “A New Friend for Christmas” to a friend of ours, aptly named, Mr. Christmas (true story!).

After reviewing my one copy, I decided to change the title to “The Mystery of the Lost Friend” to match a book I was writing entitled, “The Mystery of the Missing Pilot.” I ordered a bunch of copies and, like the newbie I was, gave pretty much all of them away, although I did sell a few – to bookstores – yeah! My total run for “The Mystery of the Missing Pilot” was about 50 copies. As an experiment, it failed rather dismally but as a learning experience, it was a roaring success.

My biggest problem with this book was the cover. I had used a photo of my own that when blown up was very “pixilated” – one of many terms I learned along that rough road of experience. There was nothing wrong with the text itself – just the presentation of it. Three years later, this same book was published under the title: “Get Lost!” and won the best children’s book award for 2006 from The Canadian Writing Awards (hosted by The Word Guild).

And yes, I self-published it once again. This time with a company in Winnipeg called Art Bookbindery. They have an excellent cover design artist, text layout designer, and superior binding quality on all their books.

Because I love to teach and mentor new authors, I have done 6 anthologies so far (all self-published). Also, a resource book: Meet Manitoba Children’s Authors, a book that raised the profile of 38 Manitoba authors, promoting their work to schools and libraries.

And I’ve been working on my first love (as far as writing goes) – fiction. Colin’s Choice was published in 2005, Get Lost! in 2006, Deep Waters in 2007, Pilot Error in 2008 and coming in just a few days to a bookstore near you… The Little Ones.

I’ve developed my own publishing company – “Goldrock Press” and plan to continue to publish and promote the work of other authors, in addition to my own.
My focus is: Christian, Aboriginal, fiction, “northern,” Manitoba, Canadian, children, youth, adults, non-fiction – pretty much in that order, although every project of course does not encompass each area each time.

Proud to be self-published? Yes, I think so. The literary world has changed so much in the past few years – the big old printing presses and ink under the fingernails have been replaced with outsourcing, track changes, and electronic proof copies. Downloading eBooks has replaced wandering around in book stores (although I still prefer the latter).

In the early years, I fought technology and wrote my manuscripts by hand (something, as I recall about the creative flow) but although I still do not rush madly into the next great new technological marvel (quite the opposite actually!), we must all eventually face the inevitable. The times they are a changin’! And self-publishing is here to stay.

M. D. Meyer is the award-winning author of The Little Ones, Pilot Error, Deep Waters, Colin’s Choice, Get Lost! and Meet Manitoba Children’s Authors, and the editor of six anthologies, Prairie Writers, volumes 1, 2, 3, Northern Writers, volume 1, The Voice Behind the Mask and The Isle of Mirage. Dorene was a mentor in the 2008 Sheldon Oberman Emerging Writers Mentor Program.

1 comment:

Peter Black said...

Wow! Dorene.
I knew you were an experienced and awarded author, but I hadn't realized you had published so many works.
Thank you for this fine piece.

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