Curses and/or Blessings

This self-publishing lurk can get a bit fraught! But sometimes what seems bad can turn out good.


A kind friend volunteered to organise a place for me to have my book launch. I followed up with a phone call; all seemed good. Then COVID happened, and then major flooding happened. The place was closed for months for renovations, and to raise it above flood level. When it reopened, I finally went to look it over and immediately realised it wouldn’t be big enough. The manager, a very nice woman, was cool about the sudden cancellation. Then I had to scramble to find another venue.

I soon realised I would need Public Liability insurance for most places, which I don’t have. 


I approached Pottsville Beach Neighbourhood Centre, where I’ve volunteered for a number of years, running writing workshops, and also was on the Committee for a while, to see if I could hire one of their rooms. The Centre Manager, Angela, thought their spaces wouldn’t be big enough either, but suggested that because of my volunteer status they could sponsor the event, which is related to the work I’ve done for them, and cover me for Public Liability somewhere else. My local Community Centre is an ideal space, and available, so that's where it's  happening. Whew!


Because of the printing delay I mentioned in my last update, I had to move the launch date a couple of weeks. I'd intended to have it on my 84th birthday on November 12.

It's now happening on November 25th – bringing it close enough to Christmas that people are starting to get a bit careful about where they spend their money. I’m releasing the three books as a package deal. Even at 20% discount, with signed copies and all, it’s a big ask at this time of year. Also everyone starts to get a bit busy now. Among other things, it means that a geographically distant friend, who had been going to visit me at the time of the launch, can’t come now that the date has been moved. She’ll make it up here later, which is lovely, and still wants the books, but it’s a disappointment to us both.

Even worse

Two of the men whose work is featured in Blood from Stone and who are also part of the story I tell in the memoir, one a particularly close friend for many years, died before I could send them copies of the books, which I had much looked forward to doing – one suddenly, after a fall; the other after a year-long illness which it had appeared he was at last overcoming. If I hadn’t been delayed by having to do a reprint, they would have received the books in good time to have a read.


The men who died knew the books were happening, and approved. One had even read the first draft of the memoir and pronounced it good.

However, the times I deal with in the books were long ago for them, and painful to revisit. If they had to leave us, perhaps it’s better that, as it turned out, they didn’t have occasion to revisit that painful past yet again via the published books. At least, it’s some small comfort to think so.


I discovered some imperfections in Blood from Stone and realised that this too had been produced in the wrong version, before final proofing and corrections – too late now to order a reprint. 


Those who have seen the printed book tell me nothing leaps out at them. I realise most of the typos are things which might be noticed, but the reader's mind would skip over, automatically supplying the corrections. 

There are two typos to which that wouldn't apply – one changes the meaning of what is said – but I have been able to type the correct versions in matching font, and am painstakingly cutting and pasting them in manually over the mistakes – in every copy! Tedious and time-consuming, but I don't choose to let the books go out with crucial errors.

Ironic? Spooky?

The dream, or rather nightmare about the launch, which I recounted in my previous post, included this:

 I looked for a copy of the memoir to read something from that as planned. The only copy I could put my hands on was wrapped in a sheet of paper on which the head of the printer’s production team had written all the reasons why he could not completely carry out my instructions for corrections, and what he had done instead. The book itself was a mess! Some of the corrections were on pages badly pasted over the old ones. Others he hadn’t done at all. And that was the only copy I could find. I clutched it, aghast, with no idea what to do next.

In real life, the book doesn’t look a mess; all the books look beautiful. And it's not the memoir but the anthology in which some errors are uncorrected and others are (neatly!) pasted over. But I can't help thinking that was something of a psychic dream.


You can’t find these books on Amazon yet. When I did my survey as to whether people wanted paperbacks or ebooks, the overwhelming majority preferred paperbacks. I was advised it would be cheaper to do a print run than POD, so I estimated what I thought I could sell and ordered that number. When I get rid of them, I’ll go to POD and ebooks. 

In the past, being a lover of ebooks myself, I have wished authors wouldn’t wait until after the release of their paperbacks to bring out the ebooks. Now I understand why!


It’s my intention they will be available through Amazon later. Meanwhile, I’ve set up a business account which I’ll link to my PayPal, and there will be a link on my website for you to order your copies. Just let me get through the forthcoming local launch first. Then I’ll let all you people who don’t live in the same town as me (or even the same country in many cases) know the details. I’m looking at doing a Zoom launch for you, too! 

Hang in there, and I will keep you posted.