I have just hit the button to publish a book on Kindle. It is strange that I felt such a flutter in the stomach as I hit that button, especially when I have hit the button so many times to publish a blog post. Why does this feel different, especially since this is simply electronic publishing, there are no printing presses which are going to thunder into action. Quite possibly this is a residual effect which stems from what I have previously called the sanctity of publication, but likewise, it could easily be about money: I have never asked anyone to pay anything for my words before. There again, people pay me plenty of money to speak to them: in fact I am just about to leave for the airport on a speaking engagement which is going to pay me an amount which could end up being not significantly less than that which I might receive from ‘publishing’ my book.
At the weekend I was speaking to a couple of friends who are book publishing professionals – editors or graphic designers. They were appalled at the notion that I was ‘self publishing’ and designing my own book cover by saving a PowerPoint slide as a jpeg. But as I asked them, what does the medium of print and all the associated mass-production effects, contribute to the people who might want to pay to read my words? Nothing. Pretty much everyone who might want to read it would own some form of e.reader by now and this allows me to play by the digital rules – by the post-Gutenberg rules (as I explain in the book). I don’t have to lock up my content in a restrictive means of distribution, or at least it only has to be restrictive enough to put a price tag on it.
But it still feels like a sanctified moment! (Hence the need to commemorate it with a blog post).