When I was twelve my parents thought it would be good to move to the country. As a consequence of that, I started spending most Saturday mornings in the local library. Meanwhile, my parents braved the usual hungry hordes in the supermarket opposite to stock up on food for the week. After weeks of skirting around it, I decided to read Når snerlen blomstrer by Bjarne Reuter. He’s been my favourite author since the creepy school librarian introduced me to him when I was eight. That was the book that introduced me to The Beatles. For all that we often listened to 60s music in the car, The Beatles were never on the soundtrack.
But from that day it changed.
While my friends listened to Nirvana and headbanged their way through the early 90s, I collected Beatles albums on vinyl. (I didn’t get a CD player until 92.) They shook their heads at my lame taste in music and I learned that my father’s favourite Beatles song was Paperback Writer and my uncle’s was Penny Lane. Ever since my uncle died, I smile and think of him when I hear it.
But Paperback Writer …
It’s a wonderful song.
Dear Sir or Madam
Would you read my book?
It took me years to write
Will you take a look?
Maybe I haven’t been very successful at getting Dear Sir or Madam at the literary agencies to read my book, but real readers are reading it. Today I read a new review on Amazon; a wonderful woman named Mandy got her bookclub to read it. I can’t even begin to describe how incredible that feels. (Thinking about it, a writer probably should never say that she can’t describe something.)
This week my book – the very first paperback edition – arrived on my doorstep. My words in print. Something I can put on my shelf. Sometimes I just stare at it. A paperback. Which makes me a paperback writer. In some shape or form.
I remember when self-publishing was something to be slightly ashamed of. Whenever you mentioned doing it, people looked at you like you were getting your book churned out by children in slave labour camps who were forced to chop down trees in subzero temperatures.
But then there was Amazon. Just like über disrupted publishing and Airbnb disrupted the hotel industry, Amazon changed the way we can publish books. Perhaps some people will still think it’s an awful book, but people think some traditionally published books are awful. Perhaps I’ll never see my book on a shelf in an airport. But Mandy made her bookclub read it and they enjoyed it. Right now I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I always did like Amazon.