It came at the weekend – hadn’t even occurred to me it might be so soon – and I was literally hopping about with excitement! 350-odd pages of my own writing!
I realise that this could be seen as vanity publishing, because I paid to get my book printed. But here’s the thing: does it matter if it is? And is it really if it’s just one copy done as a. . . a sample? Everyone makes mock-ups of work, to get some idea of if something’s going to work and so that other people can see what the designer/creator has been seeing all this time. Posters, buildings, bottles and boxes and clothes and just about anything you can think of!
Like many things, I think this has multiple purposes:
- Vanity? Little bit. I wanted to see my work (not so much my name, but my writing) in print.
- Practicality. To help with editing both for myself and to make it easier for other people to read it if they want to (In my experience not many are willing to deal with a manuscript, but give them a book. . .) It also let me see how the layout worked, give me a better idea of if I liked the title, and if I might be happy with a cover like that.
- Emotional. To see how much I’ve done, to have a physical object that I can say ‘I made that’, gave me an unexpectedly big celebratory feeling and confidence boost. A feeling of achievement which makes me more determined to get other not-so-finished projects at least to this point.
So, what can I say about this experience? Like all writing-related things I’ve tried so far, I’m glad I gave it a go. More than that? Here’s a few of the more obvious Q&A’s I can think of:
- What was the quality of the end product? Good paper, clear printing, well finished, quickly done.
- Was it easy to do? It takes you through the whole process in simple steps, allows you to save your progress and return later, and you can alter certain options later if you change your mind. (E.g. who has access to your project.) It gives templates for formatting your manuscript and has help available if needed. The cover design interface is reasonably easy to use and gives several themes and layouts for you to personalise.
- Was it expensive? I wouldn’t say any more so than buying an ordinary book, and took about the same amount of time from ordering to delivery. Formatting the manuscript and deciding on the cover – even if I did just use one of the standard ones – did take a while though!
- Was it worth it? Just from the emotional high, I’d say yes.
- Would I do this for another project? Definitely.