Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Keeping A Story Alive

In December of 2010, I finished uploading my grandma's memoir to a self-publishing site and released it to be sold on Amazon. I had started working on her manuscript around 1994, taking it from her longhand to a word processing program. I'm pretty sure it was Word 3.1, or something like that. Thankfully, I knew enough about saving digital work then to save it in a format that would be compatible to different programs if need be. I completed transferring the manuscript in 1997, printed out all 200+ pages, took it to a copy store, and had several spiral bound copies made to present to my grandma. Her delight in having her book in hand was the only payment I needed. Her happiness made me happy.

In 2006, I came across a self-publishing site and decided to take Grandma's book and turn it into a "real" book, a paperback with a "real" cover and its own ISBN. At the time, I didn't have the skills to create a cover, and after several failed attempts, the book got put on the back burner. In 2010, I received a message from the self-publishing company that they were merging with another company, and the account for my grandma's book was now with the new company. Curious, I logged into the new company, saw they had a variety of templates for creating a cover, and started playing around with them. Within minutes, I had a cover completed for my grandma's book. After tweaking the cover over the next week, I decided to go ahead and release the book for sale. I spread the word to family that the book was ready for purchase then pretty much just forgot about it.

Until this evening. After a call from my uncle, Grandma's son, I checked into the self-publishing site to see just how many units have sold. I was thinking none since I hadn't received any royalty checks since March 2011. To my surprise, I found that there had actually been more sales through 2011 and into 2012. Not a whole lot, but some, which means there are unpaid royalties for Grandma's book. I know Grandma is smiling, knowing there are readers out there buying her book. I'm smiling, knowing Grandma's story, her voice, is alive and continuing though she is no longer with us.

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