Call it an ebook or an eBook, it amounts to the same thing. An ebook is an electronic book. Anybody can publish an ebook for almost no cost. Selling it is another matter. Most people who self-publish their ebooks make almost nothing. So why I am self-publishing my ebook? Well, for one thing, I don’t expect a publisher to come knocking at my door. I don’t expect to sell too many copies, either, but I’ve worked hard on my book and don’t want to keep it to myself.
I suck at graphic design, so I did two things. A friend designed my first cover. We spent nearly a day looking for a path and finally found one. She did a brilliant job, but the cover didn’t speak to me and I didn’t think it would speak to readers. I found an old photo of me in India and hired someone to make a retro cover. I like it better because it takes me back in time: specifically 1972. I was hanging out around Neem Karoli Baba in India and the cover reminds me of how radically meditation and India changed my worldview.
I’m the guy with his hand on his hip at the top of the page. It’s hard for me to believe I was that young once, but I was. The photo speaks to me because if it hadn’t been for meditation or that trip to India, I might have become a real estate salesperson or something. Those years sealed my fate. I mean that literally. I decided to let fate be my guide rather than follow a safer career path. Fate turned out to be a good teacher and I don’t regret the decision.
So now you know why the title is Serendipity Road. I let fate in the guise of a beautiful goddess I call Serendipity be my guide. She took me to Neem Karoli Baba when he wasn’t even on my itinerary. She took me to San Francisco and got me re-acquainted with an old friend who happened to be a stripper. She introduced me to my wife and took me to Australia where I was able to start surfing again after a long layoff. When my marriage ended, she brought me to Sihanoukville, Cambodia. That was another place I never intended to visit.
I’ve edited my book seven times. I’d love to hire a professional editor, but can’t afford to, so I’ve self-edited. I may hire someone to format my book because so far my formatting attempts haven’t been very successful. I’ve seen ebooks that are so poorly formatted, they’re almost unreadable. Between my cover and my formatting, I want my ebook to look as professional as possible. The words in the story will have to stand on their own.
As I mentioned in an earlier article, When Magic Realism is Real, my book contains a lot of stories many people won’t believe. They are true stories, though, and I had to include them. One is about an amateur psychic who saw my Sihanoukville home years before I moved here. Another was a palm reader who told me I would have two more kids. “They may not be your biological children,” she said, “but they will be yours.” She was right. Some readers may not believe the story I tell about my college professor, Norman O. Brown, who told me I wouldn’t get drafted because it wasn’t part of my personal myth. He was right, too.
Then there are stories about energy healing and natural remedies, including one for cancer. Some might believe these and others won’t. I included them because they are true stories. When I’m in doubt about something, I admit it, but I’m in no doubt about some of the stories.
The subtitle is between heaven and hell because I’ve had my heavenly highs and hellish lows. The lows haven’t been “hellish” in the sense you may be thinking. I enjoyed some of them, but to me hell is attachment. I’m much happier when life is something I observe rather than something I become trapped in out of desire, fear or greed.
I could wait around forever for a publisher or I could send 100 emails to agents. I’m an unknown writer and don’t expect a miracle. I’ve decided self-publishing is my best option and I’ll let the chips fall where they may. I may sell five copies or I may sell a thousand. I won’t win a Pulitzer Prize like an old acquaintance, William Finnegan did with his book Barbarian Days. I will have the satisfaction of having written a book and publishing it. That’s all I can ask for. We’ll see what fate has in store for it.