The Moaning Bench is now available on Amazon as a hardcover, paperbook or Kindle eBook.

Getting here was not an easy journey: Self-publishing  is not for the faint of heart.

Everybody – everybody — told us: You have to hire an editor. I knew we needed one. Almost every truly good story I wrote as a journalist was improved by an editor’s touch. But we were publishing on a shoestring. Less than that: on an eyelet. We couldn’t afford an editor.

And boy, are we paying for it. I knew from years of cranking out copy that when only one pair of eyes sees a story, those eyes sometimes see what they expect to see – not necessarily what’s actually there.

Which brings us to The Moaning Bench. I read and re-read the draft approximately twelve times during the publishing process. (This is after I was finished with it as the writer.) We were finally ready to send it off to the printer. Travis and I wanted to order 100 copies; Kim insisted on just one copy each of the hardcover and the soft cover. She prevailed – because, well, because.

(An International Standard Book Number is a unique, 13-digit code that identifies books and similar products for commercial purposes. Each version of a book – hardcover, soft cover, some eBooks – gets its own ISBN. Each time the book changes substantially, the publisher assigns a new ISBN.)

So the two books arrived. They were pretty much a mess: The title and author name on the spine ran top to bottom, not left to right. We’d forgotten the Copyright Page! There were two Chapter 24s, but no Chapter 23. We’d left the blurb off the jacket. And on and on and on. That was the First Edition.

We made the fixes, again without another pair of eyes reading it, and sent if off, ordering 100 copies this time.

Well, guess what? You got it. There were other things I had simply missed. A soda that magically changed from a Coke to a Dr. Pepper. The dumb-ass writer didn’t know the difference between further and farther, and couldn’t spell rutabagas. Along with about 11 other glitches.  

I fixed those. After some serious debate, we decided we had to change editions – and ISBN numbers. But that’s it. No more. We’ll try and fix little glitches as they pop up, but they will remain Third Edition copies.

And next time, we hire an editor – even if we have to pay them in books!