By Donna M. Murphy
I remember it like it was yesterday. The nine months of carrying, watching what I ate, getting enough sleep, and making all the necessary preparations for this new arrival. If I had known what emotions, hardships, and joys I was getting into, I might have thought twice about this conception. Now that I was well into this, I figured I had better forge ahead as expected. Apprehensions? Of course! Doubts? Absolutely! Fear? No doubt. Excitement? Indeed. Anxiety? Yep. I experienced all of these feelings and more.
After all, this was my first introduction to self-publishing and my first book.
You might have been expecting me to say, "After all, this was my first child." That would have been appropriate as well, since self-publishing and childbearing are comparable adventures. Believe me, I have had my share of child births as well - three to be exact. I was actually pregnant with my third child while I was writing and self-publishing my first book. I realize that the thought of self-publishing (or giving birth) might seem overwhelming; but when you get involved in the wonderful, powerful process of creating, learning, and accomplishment you are guaranteed to be gratified.
I am not going to candy coat this by telling you it's always wonderful and always fun. Very much like any new venture you embark upon, there will be advantages and disadvantages. I will tell you, however, that self-publishing, for me, has been one of the most empowering, rewarding, self-esteem boosting activities I've experienced. Why? Primarily because I did the majority of work myself and was not controlled by too many forces other than my own. The thought of being in control is a very enticing benefit for women to self-publish their own work. That's not to say that you are a controlling person or want to be in control of everyone and everything around you. It simply says that you want to go into this process to learn and produce something that you can really call your own. That option is not always available with traditional publishers or vanity presses.
I started my self-publishing adventure and my publishing company with the book "Organize Your Books in 6 Easy Steps: A Workbook for the Sole Proprietor Service-Oriented Business." As my husband recalls, "She wrote the book in a weekend. She went up Friday evening - I continued to bring her food and drinks while she typed ferociously on the computer. She came downstairs on Sunday afternoon with a hefty, completed manuscript."
My words to him at that point were, "Honey, can you read over this and tell me what you think?" I hate to admit this, but it truly was like I was possessed and on a mission. I was pregnant with my third child, and my creative energies were at an all time high. The book and my pregnancy consumed me. Upon reflection, I believe the two were connected.
I sent initial copies of my manuscript to friends and colleagues of mine for their comments. The response was total support and encouragement, and of course amazement that I would embark on such an ordeal in my "condition." I was told that I shouldn't be doing this sort of thing while I was pregnant. Nothing like a challenge to my motherhood and my womanhood to kick me in high gear! I immediately set out to learn all I could about self-publishing.
I enrolled in a six-week, self-publishing class at a local community enrichment program. From this class, I was able to get the guidance and information that I needed to pursue self-publishing. Keep in mind that the decision to self-publish was already made - whether I knew it or not.
For the next several months, I would write, rewrite, proofread, typeset, and register my manuscript in preparation for the manufacturer and the book trade. Going along at my own pace, I ended up with a wonderful daughter and a finished book! My daughter took the normal nine months to develop and entered the world on a sunny Tuesday morning. My book ended up in my storage room within eight months.
Excerpt from "The Woman's Guide to Self-Publishing" (ISBN 0-9664848-9-4, $17.95, 8x10, October 1999, IRIE Publishing)
This article is copyrighted by Donna M. Murphy.
Donna M. Murphy is a publisher, author, writer and mother. She is the president of IRIE Publishing & Productions based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. She works at home with three children all under the age of 4 years old. Donna now shares her passion for self-publishing with others through her on-line Self-Publisher's E-Line and through her books.