Well, Mother Nature has sure proven her might and forced many of us in the Garden Route to face devastating loss and realize that life is short and unpredictable. Within that there is many a story – or even some unfinished stories -to be told.
Writing and publishing books has been a big part of my moving forward process. And, experiencing all the twists and turns in that arena over the past 17 years has filled my kit bag of expertise and skills to inspire and help others to get that book out there. I thought I’d share my journey (or part) with you on this subject.
Although my first book Entrepreneurship made Easy proved to be a best-seller, the process was an experience the publisher at the time would prefer to forget, but it taught me much.
As it came out of a successful course, it was supposed to be an audio-book, translated into other languages; but first it had to be in English. And, as a self-help guide, it required a specific style of production. I was blessed to find some special creative local people to help me. But with no financial help, I invested my own money in the project. This precious package emerged as four separate booklets, with amazing artwork and all the crinkles ironed out by the editor. I found a distribution channel through CNA (Central News Agency), who steered me to a publishing company to put the 4 booklets into one book for ease of distribution and sale. So off I went and followed that dot. The publisher in question was a subsidiary of the largest publisher in South Africa and although they simply had to put the four booklets into one book and choose one cover and colour scheme, I was presented, six months later, with their version of Entrepreneurship made Easy. It had changed character – totally. They were thrilled with their product, but I was horrified and said NO, you can’t put this book on the shelf because it’s not mine. Pooh! Shock and horrors; especially as they had printed 15000 copies in English and Afrikaans and already pulped 7000 copies because the print was unsatisfactory. Well, I was wined and dined and persuaded, but I just couldn’t do it. I had to honour the work that had gone into our masterpiece, so no was the answer. However, the books shops had placed orders and were waiting for it. There was a deadline, but no book. On the advice of my local graphic designer, I took the book back, had 15000 copies printed locally and changed the arrangement with the publishers to distribute the book and pay a large portion of the sales up front, so I could pay the printers the R90,0000-00 to do this.
And so, in the matter of two weeks I found myself the publisher of my own published book. This was way before self-publishing was the norm. Print-on-demand options were also in their infancy and cost a fortune. But yes, I survived the shock, stress and expense. Talk about risk? I later showed the publishers the original product and they then understood why I stood my ground and honoured the integrity of my book and the work of my team.
Publishing has changed so much in the last few years. Print-on demand allows you to print one or two books or as many copies as you need. You can put your book into an e-book and upload it to Amazon.com yourself today. But beware, publishers are becoming publishing services in disguise and one has to be very careful here, as I learnt recently with the publishing of my first children’s book in the USA. But be that as it may, we all have a story and every story needs to be told. Books bring joy, enlightenment, entertainment, comfort, inspiration and much more – always a gift.
Recently I have been blessed and privileged to help a (octoganarian) local author transform a very draft manuscript and publish her first book called Over the Rainbow – Reflections on Loss. The book shares a personal journey through her ‘dark nights of the soul’ and is filled with insightful thoughts, practical wisdom, comforting quotes and poignant poems, quirky bits and bytes, all knitted together with dots and dashes of humour . It’s a rare treat in full colour and perfectly timed.
Here’s to sharing your story!