Sunday, June 19, 2016

Hard Copy

Faithful readers of this blog (!) will have heard about the novel. It’s plugged on the home page, and has been mentioned in several posts.

Talk about ups and downs: the satisfaction of finally finishing it, followed by the realization that no one cares, verified by rejections from a dozen agents, offset by the thrill of publication (even self-publication electronically) giving way to the realization (did I mention this before?) that no one cares, and then -- and then, a physical, printed book.

That’s right; I now have a book I can hold in my hand, turn its pages, and squash a bug with if it comes to that. All the things about a book that you can’t do electronically/digitally, and the difference is night to day.

You can read your own words just so many times, and I’d about hit the limit on that, re-reading the digital file recently for typos (found three, bad ones). Then I had it printed (details below)  and everything changed. It’s like reading if for the first time. I think it’s because I’ve been a reader all my life, and ”a book” was something someone else had written and managed to get published and printed and bound in physical form; someone else’s work.

And I’m not the only one impressed by the new format. People who didn’t know or knew vaguely that the book existed digitally suddenly saw that here was a book, something they understood, one of a class of objects they had learned to value.

 Next thing you know the bloomin’ thing is liable to start selling.

I owe it all to an online outfit called PrintToPress, which I heartily endorse and recommend to anyone who wants to get a book into print. They’ve made the process so simple and so inexpensive that I spent a while looking for the catch. There was none. You just punch two numbers -- size and page count -- into the calculator on their home page, and a number comes up telling you what it will cost to print a single copy.  The number is unbelievably low; I don’t know how they do it. My 176 pages in conventional 6”x9” format printed for four dollars and change. For Pete’s sake, the postage to send it to me was more than that. A single copy; something you couldn’t have begun to do in old-style printing.

Maybe there’s some good features to this digital stuff after all.