February 26, 2011

my start in self-publishing

These days you can't search for online porn without hitting a link of some literary agent or writer talking about self publishing.  Or try finding information about the federal budget or gay marriage, and sooner or later you'll end up on a site opining about how self-publishing will kill the publishing industry or destroy authors.

I'm happy to say I was way ahead of them all.  Just like Thomas Paine self-published "Common Sense," when I was in fifth grade I self-published a series of books.  Each book enjoyed a successful initial print run of one copy, with hand lettering and lovingly drawn illustrations.  I still have nine of the books--I think there were eleven in total.  This is what they look like today, after 32 years:


Two were non-fiction:  "Classic & Vintage Cars," and "Forced Journals."  The rest comprised my first real foray into fiction.

Mrs. Waldo, my fifth grade teacher, taught us how to make these books.  We stitched together the pages with thick string.  We glued paper over thick cardboard covers, then finished off the blank with binding tape.  The rest was easy--write the story and draw the pictures.

While my books span many genres--travel, science fiction, memoir, fantasy, non-fiction--they all have one thing in common.  My handwriting gets bigger as the pages go on.  Typically, I get about 40 words a page early on, but by the final pages I'm down to a dozen per page at best.

I hope to blog about each of these books throughout the year.  It will give you a chance to see my writing roots, and it will give me a chance to reminisce about my times at Hopewell Road School, where I had two teachers.  One set me on my publishing path, and the other became my stepmother.

4 comments:

Sylvia said...

Wow, these are beautiful! I can't wait to see each one in detail. So wonderful that you still have them.

McKoala said...

Dedicated to writing at such an early age, that's what we like to see.

fairyhedgehog said...

That's so cool. I can't wait to see inside these books. Clearly you're destined to be a famous author.

Peter Dudley said...

Thanks, y'all. I love looking at these and am totally embarrassed by my utter shamelessness with the "font size" issue. Seriously, when you see the pages you'll laugh out loud.