A Book in the Hand

I’m very excited to announce that I have achieved one of my writing goals:  to get a book published.  Now before you go popping the champaign I’ve got to clarify that statement a wee bit.  I published my Nanowrimo book… on a web-based POD (Print on demand) site.  It’s not available for sale (not yet anyway) and I have no self-delusions that I’m going to hit the best-seller list with it (again, at least not yet).

I know what you’re thinking; print on demand’s not real publishing.  It’s nothing more than a glorified vanity press… and at one time I might have agree with you.  Now, I’m not so sure.  If there’s one thing that really can give you a psychological boost, it’s holding a printed version of your book in your hands.  It’s really hard to describe… the only word that comes to mind is “Thrilling”.

Before you judge me too harshly, let me explain things a bit more.  An offer was available to winners of Nanowrimo (those of you who finished probably know which offer I’m talking about).  Those individuals who managed to write 50,000 words in 30 days could, free of charge, print one copy of their masterpiece.  Did I mention “Free of charge”?

The price was certainly right and I couldn’t pass up the chance to have a momento of my first Nanowrimo.  It meant some long nights editing the story to get it ready (mostly because I procrastinated over the holidays), and I had to pester my friend: the artist, author, creative ubermensch and fellow SWN’er that is Aaron Kite to create the cover art for me. 

But it was so worth it.  Take a look at the finished product “Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero:

                                     Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero                     Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero

The pictures here really doesn’t do it justice, but it is real and sits predominately on my bookcase to remind me that it’s only the beginning.  And that boy on the cover… that’s my son… and he insisted that he take his copy of the book into school the day it arrived to show his teacher.  The story he told me that night was as follows:

He takes the book into his teacher and ’shows’ her the book that his Dad wrote.  “I didn’t know your Dad was an author,” the teacher says.  “That’s really cool.  And the boy on the cover looks just like you.”  Kyle smiles a big smile and says “It IS me.”

I think the part where he was my model is just about his favorite.  Almost as good, his teacher asked him if she could read the story to the class every day.

Why is this important to me?  Because before the book came, Kyle knew I wrote stories.  But now that he has it in his hand, I’m a writer of books to him.  Pretty subtle sounding isn’t it?  But it’s a HUGE change in his mind; that tangible evidence made ALL the difference to him.  In some ways, it made a difference to me too.  There may never be more than the free copy, but it is suddenly VERY real to me.

It’s the coolest feeling in the world to see my book in print.  I really have achieved my first goal.  Now it’s time to move to my second goal; working towards becoming a professional writer.  Will I be sending my Mik Murdoch book out?  You bet I will.  Seeing it in print reinforced my belief that it’s good enough.  My daughter has already told me that I have to write another one (and while she has a personal bias, she’s generally pretty picky about what she reads).  That means that I will shortly have two books looking for a publisher.

I also have an update from last week.  I had decided to let my book 1 synopsis rest for a week and instead focus on plotting out my third book.  I’ve actually been doing that.  While my book 3 plot is far from done, I have got solid plotting on paper.  And more to come.

So does self-publishing count?  Towards making a career as a writer, probably not in terms of money earned, but most definitely in terms of inspiration to keep going.

Good writing to you.



  1. That’s really cool Mike, I have yet to send off for my free print copy of my first NaNoWriMo book, I’m still trying to finish it. It’s going to end up being like 90K words I think, I must finish it so I can edit it before July 2010, which is the cut off for getting my NaNo book printed for free, but that’s my goal. Inspiring story Mike.

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