I wrote a book and recently published it on Amazon. And trust me, if I can do it, you can too. Seriously. See my previous posts about formatting my manuscript for the Kindle version and the paperback (print-on-demand).

Here are some things I’ve figured out since I hit “publish”.

First of all, it’s exhilarating to know that my words are out there for the whole world to see. However, for a person who likes to fade into the background and be the observer, it’s also a little terrifying. When you write, you open yourself up and let others see a bit of your inner world.

When you self-publish, you are your own proofreader, editor, layout designer, and art department. With my book being a nearly 400 page, image-heavy nonfiction book with citations, this part of it was exhausting. But worst of all is knowing that there are probably things that aren’t quite right that would have been caught by a professional. With the freedom of self-publishing also comes the heavy burden of responsibility of getting it all right. I can’t even bear to look at my book, because I’m worried about what I might find. You can do corrections, which I’ve done, but I don’t want to get caught in an endless cycle of tweaking.

As I was writing my book, I developed a contact, someone who created and manages the History of Freeland, Pa. website. Charlotte (Chuck) Tancin has been very helpful in answering questions along the way, and I sent her a copy of my book as a thank you. She asked if it’s OK if she promotes my book on her website. Is it OK? Are you kidding? I’m incredibly grateful for her generosity, and even more worried about possible errors that I can’t bear to scrutinize for anymore. I don’t want to let her down.

And, as for finishing a book and self-publishing it during a pandemic? Again, this was a good/bad thing. The good part? Being home-bound provided plenty of time to finish my manuscript and then format it for publication. The bad part? It’s awfully hard to try to get out there and try to sell your book when so much is partially or totally shut down. And it doesn’t help that I live 5 ½ hours away from the location of my book, which is northeastern Pennsylvania. My book is heavy on local history, and I’d had plans to talk to local historical societies, gift shops at historical sites, etc. You can’t do that when they’re closed.

And finally, there’s the pressure of having already done it once. I’m working on my second book now, and I feel more pressure than I did with the first one to get it right. With the first one, there was a certain amount of freedom in knowing that I might not finish it or if I did, I might never get it published. But I did, and now I’m trying to do it again. I feel sometimes that I’m trying to recapture something that I can’t. Like trying to capture lightning in a bottle, again.

Hey, I did it once, right? OK, enough blogging. Time to get back to recapturing that lightning. And just remember, if I can do it you can, too.