Many moons ago I wrote a book. It was after my first year in Antarctica, and I was convinced it would be a big seller, and I would then become a full-time professional writer. Well, that didn’t exactly happen. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t even find anyone to publish it. I was told that it wasn’t dramatic enough, which kind of surprised me. You don’t think a woman leaving everything behind to go work in the Antarctic is dramatic? I thought it was. But I guess they meant dirt and gossip. I didn’t include enough of the nitty gritty, reality-TV kind of details. Probably because I wanted to keep my job and keep my friends. So I decided to self-publish instead.
I had given up the hope of it being a big money maker and just wanted to see all my efforts in print. I signed a contract with a company called AuthorHouse, and a few months later I received my complimentary copies of my first published work. It was called Southern Exposure: A Year at McMurdo Station. But I had to pay a very large fee to keep it in print every year, so after the first year, I let the contract lapse. I had given copies to family and friends and sold about $50 worth on Amazon. I have copies on my shelf, and that was the end of the project. Or so I thought.
A couple months ago, I was talking to someone about the book and the fact that there’re half a dozen out-of-print copies being sold for exorbitant amounts online, which totally cracks me up. Some of them are advertised as “autographed,” so I wonder which of my friends is giving theirs away! But the point is, I went to look it up and noticed that it was actively for sale again…in Kindle format. I hadn’t heard of or agreed to anything like that, so I contacted the company.
They said it was a new option for current works and that older works and been grandfathered in. They’d be happy to remove my book, if I was unhappy with it. Oh, no…no, that’s fine. I was actually excited that my book was alive and well again since I have had a few people over the years that wanted to read it. And I do refuse to loan my personal copies out, because they’re the only ones I will ever have.
I had thought about advertising it on here when it first came up but felt that might submarine my attempts at anonymity. However, I have married since it was published, so it only has my maiden name on it.
I will throw a few disclaimers out there. I personally haven’t reread my little book in almost a decade but was scanning through it before writing this, and I’ve come up with two main points.
- It would’ve been really good to have someone edit my work. I apparently forgot how to use commas altogether and at some point couldn’t decide if I was going with the novel or the Chicago Manual of Style approach to spelling out numbers.
- The cover art is awful. I couldn’t afford the “art package” at the time, so they just slapped on a photo that I had provided.
I can only hope that there isn’t anything scandalous in there that would jeopardize my clearance. But I highly doubt it since it was too boring to publish. I can already think of one thing that I would remove because it’s rather insensitive.
But if you can get by all of that and just want to a quick 250-page read on one person’s first year in the U.S. Antarctic Program and what the program was like 10 years ago (it has suffered much under budget cuts since then)…then click here.