preparing to launch after writing

As we approach the release of the new multiasian.church eBook, the excitement is growing and so is the number of final details adding up, more than I initially anticipated.

As you may have seen from the back story of this book, I started writing this book on September 2015 and finishes the manuscript on August 31, 2016. At first I thought I could write and publish the book by April 2016, in time for a conference called Exponential East, but my flow of inspiration did not fuel me with the energy needed to hit that wishful timing.

As a first-time author, this work was not done with an advance from a publisher, no funding to compensate for my time and work, no fundraiser to kickstart, no time off with a sabbatical-paid or unpaid. Life kept going on as normal, I kept on working as a consultant on a full-time equivalent basis, for which I am grateful, so the book’s chapters were written in my disposible spare time. And, the book’s topic is not a part of my job or profession, so it really is something categorically called a hobby, in relations to the income tax, while in certain Christian circles and parlance, it could be called a personal ministry or avocational calling.

Writing the text for the book was one thing.

Getting the book ready for sale is a whole ‘nother thing. I did get paid help with editing the manuscript and designing the book. But that’s all I’m formally paying for.

What has taken more effort is my own work in getting the website customized and finding an online storefront for people to buy and download the digital edition of the multiasian.church book. After almost a week’s time looking at a dozen of different options for paid downloads, I’m going with a platform called gumroad.

I had thought self-publishing digitally would be faster and easier, and some parts of it could be done fairly easily but not very well. I did want the book to be done at a professional-grade quality in terms of its cover design, even as a self-published volume. I did not want to use a generic template for the book cover, though that would be easier.

I also wanted the book to be accompanied with a website that’d let me customize its content channels, in hopes of being a homebase where I can share more resources, engage with an online community for conversations around the topics raised in the book, to host webinars, and launch a podcast too.

For a multitude of reasons, just using a reasonably-priced premium WordPress theme would not accomplish this—since what I have in mind doesn’t automatically have a pre-built ready-to-go design available off-the-shelf. And, for the time I did use in researching and checking out dozens of themes, I came to realize that what a theme might show in its demo does not mean you can use that theme and get the same results using copy and paste. Sometimes, those premium themes are built with parts that involve custom design (and use of Photoshop, for example) and custom coding, but they don’t tell you that.

So having come this far, and making slower progress to the starting line, my respect and appreciation for all the effort it takes to publish a quality book and how that really is a team effort. It is worth paying for quality work in book design, website building, configuring an online store with a payment gateway, having a graphic designer create a portfolio of images for marketing, not to mention the other ingredients like distribution, market research, and promotions. All this to say, that traditional publishing has a place in this whole ecosystem of being discerning for publishing only quality books because of all the work and costs involved in producing a book for sale.

Now in my situation, having a niche audience and no budget, I’ll persevere more slowly in getting the book produced, published, distributed, and promoted. Yes, technology has made it possible and cheaper to self-publish a book than ever before, but investing and paying for a quality production may well be worth it, make the effort a little easier by having skilled people doing what they do best, and people being fairly compensated because a worker is worthy of their wages.

Thanks for those who prayed and those who sent words of encouragment during the past year. There’s more to come and more back story I’ll be sharing, as well as more good conversations that’ll come as people start reading the book.

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