Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Paperback Writer

From: wikimedia.org
   In the 60’s, writers were at the mercy of publishers.  The printing cost was outrageously expensive back then.  The printing machines were big and heavy so that manufacturing and importing them would take years maybe even decades to break-even.  From flat-bed printing press to offset printing to rotary printing press, production of reading material was labor intensive, which further added to the overhead cost. 

   As a child, I wanted to be a writer.  Adults in the family discouraged me.  They said, there’s no money in it, writers starve.  Authors become famous after they have died so that they never enjoy the fruits of their labor.  Publishers used and paid the printers.  If the books don’t sell, they lose a bundle.  Thus, the criteria for the acceptance of a manuscript for publication was so stringent that few ever make it.  You would think that in the absence of cable television and electronic games, people should have been reading more books.

   In the 70’s, I sold advertising space for a Manila daily broad sheet newspaper.  That was when I knew firsthand how printed space cost outrageously.  I gave up on my dream of writing.  Then, life happened, marriage, children, divorce.  I totally forgot I ever wanted to write.

From Wikipedia
   In mid 90’s, book printing got computerized.  Copiers went all over the place.  The personal computer came into the picture.  It made it easy for writers to edit their works, no more erasing typewritten errors with white-out.  I got myself a Macintosh but didn’t use it to write a book.  Instead, I used it to learn office software and got myself an admin job.

   At middle age, I landed on dialysis, alone in America.  The patients at that dialysis center shared television.  If one didn’t want what was showing, the 3 hours and 30 minute run felt like forever.  I bought myself a laptop and started to write a love story, mine.  Without literary training, not even a seminar or workshop, I started the first page describing the day I met the love of my life.  Then I went from page to page.  Three years later, my book has reached three hundred sixty pages.

   I gave it an ending, asked my Multimedia Designer son to make me a cover.  Printing companies were asking a thousand dollars I don’t have to print 500 copies I probably won’t sell.  I was about to give up again.  The dialysis techs noticed I have not been using my laptop.  I told Kurt, a very nice young man, that I have finished the book but don’t know what I should do with it.  He advised me to put it up on Amazon.com in digital download format, which I did in 2012.

   Over the years that followed, I edited the book three times from page one to last.  This year, Barnes and Noble accepted it for sale in paperback form.  Dreams fall into place when you least expect it. 

Postscript: Book reviews as of May 2017

See also:


  1. Thanks for the overview of what has happened in the writing and publishing industry, as well as you own story of perseverance, Lori. Your writing style MUST be pretty good, because I breezed through your post effortlessly :)

    1. I am a writer as well as a professional artist, who has lived through much of what you describe. Now, thanks to self-publishing, laptops and the internet, my dream of publishing has also been realized. Congratulations on your book. I hope it is doping well "out there".

    2. Thank you for your comments Michael, it means a lot. If you should ever read any of the books please let me know what you think. I appreciate honest feedback. Wish you well in all your creative endeavors.