As many readers know, one of the ways I coped with my cancer diagnosis and treatment was to write about it.As I chronicled the toll my illness took on me and my family – both in this column and in regular emails to friends and family – people encouraged me to compile what I’d written into a book. The book is now finished and available for sale.“But I Just Grew Out My Bangs! A Cancer Tale” is a frank account of the many hardships, indignities and triumphs I experienced during my year of battling cancer. It was cathartic to write and provided a physical closure to my journey. Committing every aspect of my battle to the written page removes it from my consciousness, and I can now move on with my life. I decided to forego the traditional publishing houses – a process I know well, since this is my fourth book – and go directly to self-publishing. I am not alone. Hundreds of thousands of authors like me are bypassing a green light from an agent and publisher and are taking matters into their own hands. There have been great strides made in recent years with self-publishing, both the process and the stigma attached to it. I can personally vouch for how easy, cost-effective and speedy the self-publishing route is these days. I chose to use createspace.com, a subsidiary of amazon.com. I downloaded my book, a Word document I’d converted to a PDF, and followed createspace’s step-by-step instructions for creating a cover and ISBN number using one of the templates they provide. The website is user-friendly and efficient. But questions are bound to arise, and the good news is that live customer support is available 24-7. I sought assistance for everything from formatting issues to how to price and market the book, and each time I was connected to a helpful and patient person who was able to resolve whatever difficulty I was experiencing. After my book was deemed ready to print, I ordered a hard-copy proof of it. I repeated this process several times, paying $8 for both the proof and the shipping costs each time, until I had a final product I deemed ready for sale. I then approved the final proof and ordered enough copies to sell at various venues and book signings I have lined up across the country. The beauty of self-publishing is that I don’t actually have to order any of the books myself. I could have completed this entire process without spending a penny. The books are printed on demand so that readers can purchase the books directly from amazon.com – or any number of additional virtual booksellers – and they incur the cost rather than my needing to pay for the printing up front.I will receive periodic royalty checks depending on the number of books sold.But thanks to the ease of self-publishing, there really no down side to chronicling my ovarian odyssey. And who knows? There may be a sequel: “My Bangs Are Grown Out!”
Friday, Dec. 28, 2012
Self-published book chronicles cancer journey
Successful recovery was the closer for a year’s worth of writing
Katya Lezin is all smiles in November after completing chemotherapy treatment. COURTESY OF DAVID LIEBERMAN
Learn more: For information about createspace, visit www.createspace.com. Katya Lezin’s book “But I Just Grew Out My Bangs! A Cancer Tale” is available locally at Park Road Books or can be ordered at www.amazon.com or createspace.com. Lezin will be holding a book talk and signing, including a panel of her medical team, 7 p.m. Jan. 8 at the Levine Jewish Community Center at 5007 Providence Road. Admission is free but seating is limited. Get reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org.