Self-publishing a book can be a challenge

Published 12:15 pm Monday, October 15, 2012

Column: Something About Nothing

Writers are a dime a dozen. I am one of those dime a dozen writers. I like to write. Do I have any thoughts that my writing is probably better anyone else? The answer to that would be no. I know I write about fluffy things. I do it because I am tired of gloom and doom.

The past month, I have decided to make one of my dreams come true. I have always wanted to write and publish a book. I already have a children’s book written. It needs illustrating, as drawing is not one of my talents. I have taken the jump and sent it in to publishers, but of course the rejection letters came back. I was impressed that one agency actually took the time to personally contact me. The books tell me that usually you get a form letter or do not hear at all. Just so you know I was expecting rejection letters so I wasn’t crushed.

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I wrote another book and started posting it on my blog. It is about Granny, she likes ice cream and donuts for dinner. She lives in the fictional town of Fuchsia, Minnesota. Granny is known as a feeble, forgetful and colorful, weird, little old lady, but Granny has a secret life that the strange residents of Fuchsia are unaware of. There are robberies and people disappearing and Fuchsia has a secret that no one knows about.

It started as a lark. It gave me a reason to get up in the morning. It let me use my imagination and made me feel alive again. When I finished “Fuchsia, Minnesota” I decided to do something else I had never done before. I decided to see if I could publish this myself on Amazon.

It was quite an adventure. First I had to learn how to format my book for the Kindle. I did that and published it. It seems no matter how many times I read and reread and fixed errors I did not find them all. Of course that may fit with Granny’s personality. It also shows that I am a novice.

Then I decided to publish it as a paperback on Amazon. It will also be able to be distributed in other stores if I market it right. Again, it was another learning experience. I accept the fact that the critics might blast me for being comma-challenged, format challenged and probably a few other things. I didn’t hire an editor, which the gurus tell you to do, because I didn’t have the cash. It is what it is.

I decided to self publish because at my age I might be 100 before the rejection letters stop coming, and I wanted to make my dream happen. Will people read my book? I don’t know, but even if they don’t I feel good about trying. There is something about trying something new at my age that feels good. There is something about challenging my brain at my age that feels good.

Why am I telling you all this? To sell books? Well, that would be nice but I am telling you this to encourage you to reach for the stars at any age. Might I fail? Possibly, but I will have learned a lot and how can that be called a failure?

I hear these words spoken many times; “I am too old to learn that any more. I am too old to try that.” Possibly we are, but possibly we aren’t. How will we know if we don’t try?

I can tell you this. When I am trying something new, even when it is frustrating, I feel more alive. When I am writing I am excited to get out of my bed in the morning and weave imaginary tales.

Perhaps the reason I created Granny in my book was because she is someone I would like to emulate in my aging years. She has tenacity. My mom had tenacity. At times when I was younger I didn’t think that was necessarily a good trait, but now it is a trait I admire.

Granny takes chances with life. This excerpt from “Fuchsia, Minnesota” sums up Granny’s feelings about her life: “Granny figured hurt was better than dead and sitting around doing nothing made her feel dead. If she became dead while hooking a crook with her umbrella her tombstone could read: Here lies Granny, she hooked a crook. That’s better than reading a book.”

We all need to take chances. We all need to feel alive no matter what age we are. Whatever your bucket list, never quit dreaming. I have led a careful life. I was afraid to go for my dreams when I was younger. I wish I had had the wisdom in my youth that maybe my foolishness in my old age has.

I end this with a quote from a song in Cinderella. I first heard this song when I was a very young child. I wish I had listened and held this song in my heart for all these years. “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.” My advice to you is to cherish those words and remember them whatever path your life takes.


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at