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Mount Orégano
Sue Burke
I've self-published 
7th-Mar-2012 10:17 am

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

7th-Mar-2012 04:49 pm (UTC)
Wow, what a big undertaking. Congrats!
8th-Mar-2012 08:59 am (UTC)
Thanks. I knew what I was getting into, though, so the job was just a long series of small steps.
7th-Mar-2012 11:28 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on the book!

I have deeply conflicted feelings about Amazon. On the one hand...yes, but on the other... As you say, good and bad at once.
8th-Mar-2012 09:01 am (UTC)
Amazon: The thing to remember is that writers are the producers here, Amazon is just the seller. It's a very good seller, but if we decide to take our wares elsewhere, it is sunk. What Amazon needs is a good competitor to keep it on good behavior -- or maybe a lot of good small competitors. And I'm sure people are trying now to figure out how to beat Amazon at its game.
8th-Mar-2012 05:47 pm (UTC)
I would love for Amazon to have a good competitor. I thought for awhile that it might be Barnes and Noble here in the States, but then they started being dickheads so I stopped patronizing them. Though I will still want to make my ebook (if I ever have time for that again) available at B&N as well as Amazon and Smashwords (et al.) for the competition factor.
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