I’ve just published my first book. It’s my translation from Spanish to English of A Form of Resistance, by Luis García Montero, a brilliant and award-winning poet, novelist and essayist from Granada, Spain.
For years I’ve been writing about, teaching about and working with digital tools that are transforming the news and publishing industries.
But this is my first foray into the world of eBooks and self-publishing. It’s been hugely satisfying so far. I loved doing the translation work with Luis’s support, finding and working with my book editor and cover designer, and ultimately signing up for the Kindle Direct Publishing platform to make this work available to the biggest potential audience worldwide.
I’ve written about Luis’s book in a previous post on this blog.
While Luis’s work deserves to be a best-seller, poetry in translation is not a genre that typically lends itself to that category. My goal with this project was to expose Luis’s writing to English-language audiences and to experiment with this fascinating and empowering process of becoming your own publisher.
It started with a class at the Guardian in London on how to self-publish.
The two-day weekend course was brilliant and made the point that most self-published authors probably don’t get: if you want to self-publish you have to replace the work publishing houses normally do. And that means it takes a village to make sure what you produce is good. You need a book editor, a copy editor, a proofreader, a cover designer, and someone to format your book for ePublishing platforms. You need to purchase an ISBN, art (possibly), a promotional website (unless you have tons of time to do it yourself), and your print collateral. You need to choose an eBook publishing platform. Amazon is the biggest by far and is easy to use. There are other platforms, but I went with big and easy. I’m too busy to even think otherwise for now.
And then you’ll have to invest time and energy to promote your book.
That’s where I am now. Preparing to launch my book into the world and let people know about it. All the social platforms are teed up. But I’m also a big believer in face time. So I will be spending the next three days at the London Book Fair, networking, meeting book industry specialists and attending presentations at the LBF Translation Centre. Literature in translation is a major trend, and I mean to listen to many of the brilliant people who are leaders in that trend.
I will be tweeting about what I see at the London Book Fair and the experience of following how many people either buy or borrow the book.
Tip: during the Book Fair, meaning starting tomorrow, I’ve turned on a setting that allows Kindle owners to borrow my book for free. It’s all an experiment. Stay tuned.