In 2015, via Kindle Direct Publishing and CreateSpace, I self-published Festival.
I've long described Festival as being my Catcher in the Rye book. A young man's coming of age story. In my case, having traveled a fair bit of the world in my mid 20s, the book is set in London, England, and in Toronto, Ontario.
The bulk of the book was written the year that I taught English as a Second Language in Poland. I still remember a light-bulb moment, in my small apartment in Poland, when I realized "A Ha! I should stagger in some Toronto scenes to show what happens to Peter after he returns home!"
I've always thought the book was pretty darn strong, to be both humble and honest! Through the late 1990s, having returned to live in Toronto, I sent it off to all the Canadian publishers and was rejected by all of them. I had a very close call with ECW Press, who almost took it, but alas, it wasn't to be.
I moved on to writing and fretting over other things, and then grad-school and "life" happened, and Festival sat as a paper manuscript in a filing cabinet for a LONG time.
In October 2014, I read an article in the Economist called The Future of the Book, which opened my eyes a fair bit to the wide variety of ways to publish in the mid (and now late) 2010s. The article mentioned Wattpad (which I'm on, but don't really understand), Smashwords (which I explored for Festival), Unbound (which I'm currently tinkering with), Indigogo, Pubslush, Kickstarter, and other publishing outlets.
Of the several books I'd quote-unquote "finished" during my 20s and 30s, Festival was the one which was truly DONE. The other ones required more work, required another go-around, but Festival was done. And, like I said, it was good - at least I thought it was. I believed it needed to live beyond my filing cabinet, and self-publishing as an ebook would at least get it out there into the world where maybe some reader would stumble across it, and it would mean something to him or her.
I used Amazon's CreateSpace and Kindle Direct Publishing to self-publish, and it was easy as pie. Done!
Has it been successful? Was it worth it?
I didn't expect to make any money on Festival, and I haven't. I also didn't spend any money getting Festival published, except for buying a few print copies of the book for myself via CreateSpace. So, not necessarily successful, but from a money viewpoint, a neutral outcome.
Did it reach the right reader, and mean something to him/her?
People have read it. A bit of anecdotal "it was good" comments here or there. No superlatives, no gushing emails. But, people have read it who never would have done so if the book had been left sitting in my filing cabinet, so, possibly we can call it a success in this light.
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I'm Chris Tomasini.