field notes on publishing a book, entry #1
I’ve written a book, and no you can’t read it yet. It hasn’t been properly edited it and it is probably awful; I don’t even want to read it right now!
But yeah, I’ve written a book and while I fortify before beginning its revision, I’m focusing my energy on the bigger task ahead of me: getting the sucker published.
the book I wrote
I wrote a travel memoir about the three months I spent in Morocco. My experience traveling in Morocco was not my first as a solo-traveling digital nomad, but it stands out in my memory as one of my more vulnerable experiences. I came close to being assaulted several times; I saw the Sahara with a much loved and much-admired cousin and together we lament my other, weaker familiar ties; then my boyfriend and I embarked on a 12-day road trip around Morocco and we talked about marriage and about buying a hostel in Meknes, but somehow, we never talked about staying together.
thoughts on self-publishing
Many people have asked me where to buy the book (it’s not done yet) and whether or not I’m going to self-publish. I’m shamed to admit, but the idea of self-publishing makes me recoil and hiss like a dissatisfied cat that is about to scratch the shit out of your face.
Why the idea of self-publishing elicits such a reaction, I don’t know. I guess it’s the quiet need for validation; for Random House or Harper Collins to lay their big, important hand on my shoulder and say, “You’ve written a book, kid.” Some childish part of me that lacks anything resembling confidence probably won’t feel like I’ve written a book until that big, important hand is on my shoulder.
But I have.
I have written a book. It has sentences and character development; some sex, some violence, some fun; a beginning, a middle and an end. I have written a book, and I want to see the thing published, damnit.
I’ve gone down the rabbit hole; have listened to a few podcasts and have attended a few webinars about self-publishing, and I get it. Self-publishing would allow me to keep more control of my work and actually benefit from my own marketing efforts rather than marketing and having to share a bigger piece of whatever pie I make with a Big Daddy Publisher.
step #1: find my audience
Whether I find a literary agent that connects me to Random House or I —hiss— self-publish, I need to start cultivating an audience for my book.
Like I cringe away from self-publishing, I cringe away from self-promoting but that won’t do, will it? I’m publishing a book. Moreover, I’m publishing a memoir which means I’m publishing a book all about me. Shameless self-promotion is the game here. No ifs, ands nor butts.
I’m going to be cultivating my social media profiles, reviving some that I have let waste away, and I’m going to start looking for other ways to promote myself.
I figure I need to lean into what interests me and what aligns with the book so I stay motivated and this effort remains relevant. I’m going to seek out opportunities to talk about travel, journaling and writing, books and reading, and wellness routines. And I’m going to try my hand at book reviews.
We’ll see how this goes, y’all.
if you want to help
If anyone reading this has any recommendations for podcasts, YouTube channels, blogs, magazine, etc. that they think I’d like or to which I’d be able to contribute, please send them my way and receive my digitally, heartfelt thanks!
If you know a local or first time writers whose book I can read and review, send me that, too!