December 13, 2011 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
I decided to self-publish my short story ‘Lizards’ on Kindle. (Other formats may well follow, but probably not quickly unless anyone bemoans the lack.) This was partly because I’d submitted it to various places over the years, but it never got published, and I figured that I might as well put it out there myself rather than let it wither away on the hard drive. (Ironically, the main character is particularly concerned about her poems and her boyfriend’s novel living in a drawer permanently – something that was entirely plausible in Communist-era Romania. This was a regime that registered your typewriter.) And as it’s historical fiction, it ties in nicely to The Girl in the Bunker, so seemed an appropriate follow-up.
I clearly have A Thing about young women in totalitarian situations.
So I did a final polish, and my husband did the conversion stuff (because he likes geeking out that way), and I found a very nice public domain photograph of a typewriter – it’s a German typewriter, if you look closely enough, but I’m quite fond of it – and I filled out all the bank detail stuff and selected the various royalties and prices, and uploaded it. Not long after, it appeared on Amazon.
Huh. So that’s why people self-publish.
It’s available worldwide, which in practice seems to mean the United States, the United Kingdom, and various European Amazon sites (France, Germany, Italy, and Spain). I also have a nice shiny author page, which mostly serves to link ‘Lizards’ with the novel. I could not, unfortunately, also tie in the Victorian novel I edited, Mona Caird’s The Wing of Azrael, because you can’t put an edited book on an author page (unless it’s an anthology, apparently), which seems ridiculous, but there you go.
As part of my (small) publicity campaign, I got in touch with the Fulbright Commission in Romania. This wasn’t completely random – ‘Lizards’ is set in Ceausescu-era Bucharest, as I mentioned, but more significantly, I wrote it when I was a Fulbright scholar there. They were quite pleased to spread the word, with the result that I now have the following publicity:
I also have a piece on the State Alumni site, but it’s only visible to members; still, it’s the same basic information as the Fulbright Commission piece.
The moral of this story: always let people know what you’ve done. They may well be pleased for you and give you a shoutout. And the final irony? This self-publication may actually lead to ‘Lizards’ coming out in print. But more on that if it happens.