Publishing the DIY Way by Jacquelynn Luben
In 1992, before it became usual and acceptable, I did it on my own; I became a self-publisher, in order to bring out my previously rejected book. To write for its own sake was not enough for me. I wanted to be read and heard.
I knew all about vanity publishers from writing groups, and had even interviewed one for a Radio Four programme, Punters, so I avoided them. I had a personal reason for self-publishing. My book, The Fruit of the Tree, is the story of the birth and death of my baby daughter, my second child, born after two miscarriages. When, after the birth of my second daughter, I had recovered from my grief, I wanted to share the knowledge I had gained from my experience, not just with other bereaved parents, but with others who had no knowledge of tragic premature death. Having a few short articles published only fuelled my desire to write a more detailed account of my bereavement and subsequent happiness.
With a track record, I thought it would be easier to find a publisher for The Fruit of the Tree, but I was wrong. I rejoined a writing group and started writing fiction, but still the book claimed my attention. I decided I would publish it in 1996, the 21st anniversary of my daughter’s death.
I avoided the cost of an expensive cover by choosing a black and white photo on a plain green background (regarded as a two colour cover - black plus one colour on white card). This may have been a false economy, as a good cover is essential, and much later, I changed printers and had a new cover.Printing is the easiest part of publishing. Next, I sent out press releases and flyers to magazines and radio stations, a tedious task, which nevertheless brought about some articles and radio broadcasts. I mailed the main ‘charter’ bookshops, as well as libraries.