For some time, I've been translating the medieval Spanish novel Amadis of Gaul a chapter at a time at http://amadisofgaul.blogspot.com. The novel is divided into four books, and Amadis of Gaul Book I is now available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle versions.
The book includes a preface by a present-day Spanish novelist, an introduction, notes to chapters, and an appendix explaining what eliminated Amadis from respectable bookshelves — it wasn't Don Quixote.
Why did I do it?
Because readers asked me to, and I didn't think any traditional publisher would take a chance on such an uncommon piece of literature.
How was the process?
Creating the actual text took the longest. I had published everything as blog entries, so I needed to do considerable editing to turn them into a book. The individual chapters in the novel — 43 of them — had to be assembled into one file. Then I had to select the entries to form the introduction, appendix, and notes to chapters, and stitch them all together.
I also needed to create a table of contents, a list of references, cover, and title pages. But I've worked as an editor before, so all this was nothing new, though it was work. Then it all had to be proofread. Again. And again.
Amazon provided templates to create the book layout that were easy enough to use, since I've done that sort of thing before. It all went just fine.
Then I decided to create a Kindle version. Again, Amazon provided clear instructions and software to work with, and it went fast — especially now that I had created the text.
These days, anyone can publish a book. This will change the world, but we don't quite know how yet.
What do I think of Amazon?
Amazon is a big, clever company — so big that it can be bad and good at once. It is both a solution to the long slow disaster that has been the publishing industry in recent decades, and a new problem that needs yet another solution. It's an 800-pound gorilla.
But it let me publish the book. I hope you like it.
— Sue Burke