Sunday, April 02, 2006

The Joys of Self-Publishing

I've been updating and adding to my "regular" Web pages recently, thinking about how I want them to develop, and what direction I intend for this weblog. The View From Droop Mountain, Literary Pocahontas County, and Rebecca's Linux Page have additions and corrections, and I'm currently revamping Musical Pocahontas County, although the changes are not yet in evidence. A new page, (Mis)Understanding Appalachia, is in the works.

It seems as though I'm not the only "place-blogger" thinking about publication these days. Dave, of Via Negativa, and the alliterative Fred First, of Fragments from Floyd, are both posting about publication. Dave's thoughts are more theoretical, while Fred wrestles with the minutia of a self-published book.

I've been a co-author on several scientific papers, and whether my research contribution was significant or marginal, I always had the misfortune to be heavily involved in manuscript preparation. (Never let the boys know you can type, or spell, or punctuate.) I know all too well the horror of seeing really stupid errors make it into print, despite dozens of rewrites and edits.

Although I edit everything I post at least three times before I let it go "live," I often see mistakes and clumsy phrasing when I look at this blog and at my Web pages. This is my favorite part of Web "publishing:" I can fix my mistakes anytime I find them. This fluidity also means I can start writing when I'm not entirely sure where I'm going, and still make the work in progress available to other people, who may give me interesting input and change my direction. Why would I want to write a book when I can have all this?

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