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Self Publishing Books:

Age and Poor Health No Obstacle to Self-Publishing.

Have you considered self-publishing books? Do you subscribe to the notion that there is a book in each of us?

There is certainly a memoir in every person. Your unique memories are valuable as historical and social stories. And if you write your story you may wish to have it published, to share with family and friends, or perhaps a much wider audience. Martin Gordon demonstrates that age and ill health are no barriers to self publishing your story.

"If Tom Gordon had not fled the family farm in the West of Ireland in 1923, his political opponents in the recent civil war would have murdered him. Instead, helped by the priest of Easkey, County Sligo, Tom took the first available cattle boat from the Port of Sligo to Glasgow. Tom Gordon was my father."

So begins my amazing story 'No Love Here - a priest's journey'. But in a way, the more I think about it, the real story is about me and how I came to self- publish it at the age of eighty and carrying an illness by the name of Myasthenia Gravis, which was diagnosed in March of 2008. A year later, I was twenty four hours from dying, but reached hospital in time.

It was this experience that made me determined to go ahead and finish the manuscript that I had been working on intermittently for over twenty years. However, after trying a few publishers, without success, I decided to push on and self-publish the book. The effort of doing this was made easier by my meeting a graphic designer who took charge of preparing the manuscript for the printer in England. I was soon to learn that this was the easy part.

When I saw the first copy of the book I reacted strangely. I was an author. But there was no sense of triumph nor did I feel any thrill of achievement in what I had accomplished, despite my age and ill-health. Instead, I was thrilled at the size and choice of typeface I had chosen to make it easy for those of a certain age to read the words in comfort. The front cover looked marvellous the commendations on the back cover from well-known Journalists John Cooney, and Patsy McGarry and from Bishop Paul Colton were appreciative and appreciated. Now the real work was about to begin.

There is still a certain stigma attached to self-publishing. People think, "It can't be much good if a publisher turned it down." Look around you in any book shop, however, and view the shelves of inconsequential books waiting to be returned to their publishers. So why were they published in the first place? Now there is a mystery more baffling than that of the Holy Trinity.

My next most important task was to place as many copies of 'No Love Here' in as many shops as possible. Surprisingly this was a much easier than I had anticipated. Even Eason's took a quantity, the buyer telling me "It was a beautiful book." The Independent bookshops were also very cooperative.

The next big hurdle to overcome was how to inform the public that my masterpiece was now waiting for them to purchase. I tried the Late Late Show, because I thought there was enough content in the book to inform and to entertain the show's audience. But I was not a celebrity. It appears that is a pre-requisite for obtaining a slot in the programme. I sent review copies to the national newspapers, but without any success. Yet, I kept on seeing books reviewed that made me wonder how literary editors decided on which books to review.

I did recently have a review of 'No Love Here' in the County supplement of the Irish Examiner. But, as the name suggests, this was confined to County Cork. In the meantime, I am waiting on replies from a number of radio programmes which feature books. The presenter of a radio programme in Northern Ireland has invited me to appear and have played a selection of my favourite music in between talking about 'No Love Here'. Finally, a television programme expressed an interest in the book, and filming for the RTE Nationwide programme took place recently.

So how does one sell a self-published book, despite these obstacles? Naturally, one starts with family and friends and in turn with their friends and goes on to build on that foundation. But such miniscule sales will not produce enough cash to cover all one's expenses. That is why a website is a must. My one is I am also on Facebook and a number of sites related to authors and writing.

Three final - and very important pieces of advice I offer to would-be self-publishers: have a professional editor read your manuscript before sending it to the printer, be conservative in the number of copies you order, and have credit card facilities available on one's website is an absolute must.

If you were to ask me if I would I self-publish again my answer would be a definite "YES"!

This article was writter by Martin Gordon from

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