My first blog post for Midlife Cabernet was published in February of 2008 when I was a youngster in my fifties. Since then, I have repeatedly lost and regained the weight of a piano, divorced and remarried, moved twice, authored or published ten books, attended both my children’s joyful marriages and then held their darling baby girls, supervised the building of a mountain cabin, admitted my mother into a nursing home, and enjoyed enough red wine to preserve me for another twenty years.
This blog was the constant activity through all the chaos and commotion. My first topics were about how to survive the empty nest and described the powerful realization that I would live longer without my children than with them. (This may bring some relief to beleaguered moms of toddlers.) Subsequent blogs covered the raw realities of menopause, body failures, eldercare, and old, old friends. Looking back, Midlife Cabernet is a private journal that I happened to share on the World Wide Web.
So, why not make it a book? Voila! Midlife Cabernet – Love, Life & Laughter after Fifty will premiere in April. It’s a combination of my published blogs and new material, previously unseen by human eyes. Chapters include “Midlife Dating and Mating,” “The Proper Care and Coddling of Curmudgeons,” and “A Time to Laugh, a Time to Get a Weapon.”
If you write a blog (and you should), here’s how you can turn it into a self-published book:
Write well and regularly about topics that interest a target audience.
Save all your published essays into word documents and divide them by categories. For example, I organized all my blogs about grandchildren into an entire chapter titled “Grandkids as Speed Bumps.”
Add 50% new material.
Set a budget. For about $3,500 you can pay for design, editing, printing, and shipping for 100 copies of a 230-page book that contains 60,000 words. Be sure to price the book to cover your costs. Profit is nice, too.
Study online resources and talk to published authors to learn how to self-publish a book. If you want bookstores to consider carrying your book, obtain an ISBN number.
Work with a professional graphic designer to create a dynamite cover and design the interior text. If you’re also doing an e-book, a different configuration is necessary.
Hire a professional editor or two and enlist a few of your literate friends to proofread the copy. My final copy went through four edits and revisions.
Choose an online publishing company. I have used Lulu, BookMasters, and CreateSpace. I prefer CreateSpace. Study their website for instructions. Upload the cover and text, order a proof copy, make any changes, and then order the books.
When the box of books arrives, open it carefully and then relish the moment you first hold your precious creation. This euphoria lasts only a few moments until you realize that the books will languish in your garage until you sell them. Marketing and promotion is just as important as the production. Again, learn from a variety of resources about how to arrange book signing events, obtain reviews, promote through social media, and basically become a book peddler. Remember that your friends and relatives will only buy so many copies before they stop taking your calls.
Finally, enjoy the process of writing a book. There is an enormous feeling of accomplishment when you walk into the local bookstore and see your title on the shelf. You may or may not obtain fame or fortune from your work, but take comfort in knowing you did it. Then go home and start writing your next masterpiece.