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"A happy family is but an earlier heaven".

George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950

10/11/2012

Age and Poor Health No Obstacle to Self-Publishing My Autobiography.

 

“If Tom Gordon had not fled the family farm in the West of Ireland in 1923, his political opponents in the recent civil war would have murdered him.  Instead, helped by the priest of Easkey, County Sligo, Tom took the first available cattle boat from the Port of Sligo to Glasgow.  Tom Gordon was my father.”

So begins my amazing story ‘No Love Here- a priest’s journey’.  But in a way, the more I think about it, the story is really about me and how I came to publish it at the age of eighty- years –of –age and carrying an illness by the name of  Myasthenia Gravis, which was diagnosed in March of 2008. It took the doctors ten days to discover what was wrong with me.  In addition to that, I also have a serious heart complaint.  A year later, I was twenty four hours from dying, but made the hospital in time.

It was this experience that made me determined to go ahead and finish the manuscript that I had been working on intermittently for over twenty years. However after trying a few publishers, without success, I decided to push on and self-publish the book. The effort of doing this was made easier by my meeting a Graphic designer who took charge of preparing the manuscript for the printer in England. I was soon to learn that this was the easy part.

When I saw the first copy I reacted strangely to the sight of my book.  I was an author. But there was no sense of triumph nor did I feel any thrill of achievement in what I had accomplished, despite my age and ill-health. Instead, I was thrilled at the size and choice of typeface I had chosen to make it easy for those of a certain age to read the words in comfort.  The front cover looked great and the commendations on the back cover from well-known Journalists John Cooney, and Patsy McGarry and from Bishop Paul Colton were well-written. Now the real work was about to begin.

There is still a certain stigma attached to self-publishing. People think: “It can’t be much good if s publisher turned it down.” My dear friends look around you in any book shop and view the masses of inconsequential books heaped up just waiting to be returned unsold to their publishers.  So why were they accepted in the first place? Now there is a mystery more baffling than that of the Holy Trinity. Though Frank Sheed in his book ‘Theology and Sanity’ explains that brilliantly.

My most important task than was to place as many copies of ‘No Love Here’ in as many shops as possible. Surprisingly this was a much easier job than I had anticipated. Even Eason’s took a quantity, the buyer telling me that “It was a beautiful book”.  The Independent bookshops were also very cooperative. 

The next big hurdle to overcome was how to inform the public that my masterpiece was now waiting for them to purchase.  I tried the Late Late Show, because I thought there was enough content in the book to inform and to entertain the show’s audience.  But I was not a celebrity. Sent review copies to the national newspapers, but without any reviews appearing. Yet, I kept on seeing books reviewed that made me wonder how literary editors decided on which books to review? I did recently have a review of ‘No Love Here’ in the County supplement of the Irish Examiner. But, as the name suggests, this was confined to County Cork.  In the meantime, I am waiting on replies from a number of radio programmes which feature books. Also, at last, a television programme has shown an interest in the book.

So now does one sell the book, despite these obstacles? Naturally, one starts with family and friends and in turn with their friends and go on to build on that foundation. But naturally such miniscule sales will not produce enough cash to cover all one’s expenses.  That is why a website is a must. I am also on Facebook and a number of sites related to authors and writing.

Would I self-publish again? The answer is a definite “YES”!

Martin Gordon.

 
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