I think I've landed on the term "DIY Publishing" to describe what I did with Time to Make .
I used Amazon's Createspace, a fairly seamless print-on-demand service. I'm not crazy about calling it "self-publishing"--this has images of some guy paying gobs of cash to sneak his book out onto the market. It's just him and some Sneaky, Expensive, Non-Actual Publisher.
That's not how this project went for me. I talked about it on my blog, figured out ways to pay extremely talented people little stacks of cash combined with handmade offerings, and (believe me) there was a publisher: it was me and a host of helpers: a posse of Wienerdog Tricks blog readers who piped in after reading early early drafts; a really, really good editor (the best I've had since the Big 3 hit grad school together reading each other's work in Hudson's booths); a committed blog designer-turned-font-specialist; and a cover designer who basically let me into her house to sit next to her a bunch of times until we were both able to squeeze what was in my head out of her fingers, and a couple of loving, a couple of dear friends who sat up with me through the whole project (and di things like make me eggs on vacation so I could finish the final layout edits).
I wasn't alone. This wasn't a Ging-only sort of a deal.
And it's funny to think that the primary reason I didn't want to sit nicely and wait for a Big Guy Publisher to give me a Yes to publishing (I mean, in addition to the fact that I was writing about just going for it and not waiting around for anybody to tell you that you can)--was that I just didn't want to wait that long.
And then this project took a year and a half.
But man did I learn a lot...
1. I now know that I love to collaborate. I'm not so hot at contracting work out (like in the "I will deftly explain my wants and needs and you, Kind Professional, and you will carry them out for me in a sufficient manner" sort of way). I'm really good at [getting people to expand their willingness to be] sitting down and working shoulder-to-shoulder until the thing is done.
2. I now appreciate what publishers do (which I would like to say out loud right here is scads more than I'd imagined.) Apparently, they're the people who make the 3 gazillion tiny decisions that need to be made when you publish a book. Thanks, Them, for all those other books they made.
3. I learned that I can do a lot more than I thought I could: longest written piece I've ever even aimed for much less somehowpulledoff; newly-found very basic knowledge of inDesign; increased capacity for explaining the doodles that live in my own head; sort of increased patience sort of.
4. I learned that every time I thought I knew what was coming next, I was wrong.
And now, because of DIY Publishing, I also own a copy of my own book with a random 27-page spread of somebody else's Dragon Fiction. And this, people, is absolutely priceless to me.
Because I just wrote a book about how the things you make may or may not always turn out the way you thought they would, and how this is okay, and how it's sort of scary and tempting to never make something because of this possibility. But how you should do it anyway.
And then some really nice person at the quality control line in South Carolina took a tiny little smoke break for a second and this one copy snuck through to me--like a gift from the Wonkaphobia Gods.
Thank you, WG's. I mean it. This could have landed in anyone's hands, but you guys sent it to me.
You rock. I'll keep it forever.