“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”- Benjamin Franklin
Writing has long been one of the great passions of my life. I actually looked forward to researching and writing essays during my university days. I enjoyed the solitude of the library and by all of the information that awaited me in every aisle I entered. Even though a lot of the same source material was available online, I preferred the old-fashioned route of using books. I just liked having a book physically in my hands, the way old books smelled with the dog-eared, faded pages filled with notes made by students from years gone by. I was in my 30s at the time and using books for research was the only method I had ever known. But we live in a different era now though, a digital age. And I had to change with the times.
A couple of years ago, I wrote and published a book about a shelter dog as a fundraiser for the local humane society. While it was an incredibly fulfilling experience, it was also a little overwhelming. I had to raise funds on my own in order to get 100 copies of the book published, deliver them to interested parties, and collect the money from every book sold. I thought about writing another book the following year but didn’t want to go through the same process that came with making my first book available to the public. There had to be an easier way to write and publish books.
Several people had suggested the possibility of self-publishing my books online. I was reluctant at first as I didn’t want to end up having to spend money on books that only family and friends would probably ever read. I have a myriad of story ideas dancing around my head and desperately needed somewhere for all of these thoughts to go. Obviously I want people to enjoy reading my work and possibly recommend it to others. But I don’t expect to ever become rich or famous from my books and stories. Writing for a living would be a dream come true for me but I am realistic about the chances of that ever happening. That doesn’t stop me from dreaming about it however. Dreams are what fuel the minds of writers. It’s where our best ideas are born.
After researching a number of different online publishing options, a friend of mine suggested I take a look at a site called Smashwords.com. She had previously published a book of essays and found the site to be easily navigable and best of all, it was free. The books you write can be as long or short as you want. I have no desire to read 400 page novels let alone write one of my own. The length and scope of your book is entirely up to you. There are some style guidelines to which you must adhere but aside from that, you have free reign to tell any tale you want. You can write about any genre that interests you from science fiction to romance to horror. You even get to explore your creative side by designing your own cover Every time you sit down in front of your computer screen it’s like having a blank slate. It’s up to you and your imagination to fill it with words and imagery.
I just published my second book, “Heavens to Bessie: The Weird, Wonderful Story of a Girl and Her Pet Cow”. It’s a kids’ book which is probably best suited for children 10 and older. It’s based very loosely on my grandma’s real-life friendship with her pet cow. I have already have rough drafts for my next few books all ready to go. I strongly encourage anyone who has a story that they want to share to look into the prospect of self-publishing. The whole process has been such a rewarding experience for me. I don’t do it for profit or praise. I simply do it for the love of writing and the sense of accomplishment I get when I am able to bring my ideas to life.
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