The Big Mac Experience of self-publishing

The Big Mac Experience of self-publishing

For anybody who has read the first page of my book, you may be familiar with my ‘Big Mac’ metaphor – when you open a Big Mac box, you expect there to be a glorious double-tiered burger inside that resembles the mouth-watering image on the poster above the till. In reality, what you more often find is something that looks (and smells) like roadkill that has been picked up and slapped in a box by a Spider-man web of plastic cheese. Spider-man was clearly quite tardy with this particular lifesaving strategy, but I’ll eat it, regardless.

I hoped that anybody buying my book wouldn’t have that Big Mac [letdown] experience.

For those that don’t know (and you’re still appearing! Hello Wayfarer.) I faced Britain’s top ten biggest fears this year, conquered them all, wrote a silly book about my experiences, self-published it in October and donated all profits to Sarcoma UK (the bone and soft tissue cancer charity).

I remember reading, before facing even half of the phobias, that self-publishing a book gave many authors a big fat Big Mac experience at the end of it. Bad times. This particular writer called it something much more scientific and less delicious, but the heart-breaking principle was the same and I remember absolutely dreading it. Dreading it big time. Months and months of writing and focusing and editing and chasing and organising and not sleeping, go into writing a book. At the end of it all, I didn’t want to feel like I’d just climbed a mountain only to find another one the other side of it.

Now, I don’t know if it’s because I also conquered some pretty big fears this year, or because there are some absolutely amazing people in the world, but I can honestly say that it has been one of the most uplifting experiences of my life. More like opening up a Big Mac box and finding the winning Lotto ticket. That’s totally the wrong metaphor because it has nothing to do with money, but I was floored by the reaction of not just my friends but by that of strangers, too. Having a stranger message you (preferably a female one, who isn’t creepy) is just the best feeling ever.

I’m not really one for bragging (just kidding; I’m INCREDIBLY brilliant at it, and at life) but I self-published this book, yet could not imagine feeling even the tiniest bit disappointed with any of the following:

  • I have been stocked in some very cool shops around the country.
  • I have had friends get in touch who I have not spoken to in over a decade.
  • I have made new friends who I genuinely believe will now be friends for life.
  • I have appeared on blogs that I read religiously/had only dreamed about appearing on (more here).
  • People are quoting my book back to me! And sending photos of their favourite parts. Page 51; I’m looking at you.
  • People are even buying me presents that I mentioned wanting in the book (haha, love you Holly).
  • I have been interviewed on local radio (7:50 mins in).
  • I have (YOU HAVE) donated a large amount of money to Sarcoma UK.
  • I am now being read in five of the seven continents of the world.

Basically, if you’re feeling reluctant to do something scary and potentially heart-breaking, I say go for it anyway! Completely. Don’t get me wrong, I could not have done any of that without you guys and I know that I’ve sometimes been terrible at replying to you, especially at the start when I was suffering from the recent loss of Andy (and couldn’t even look at the book without getting upset), but every single message made (and makes) my day.

To all you guys who took selfies, to all of you who told a friend about it and to those who left reviews… I just can’t even put it into words how grateful I am. You have made a draining year feel worthwhile, you’ve made mountains easier to climb and the juice was definitely worth the squeeze.

Thank you for not giving me that awful Big Mac experience that I fully expected to receive. I hope I did the same for you.

As a side note, if anybody would like a copy for Christmas, I will be posting them right up until Monday lunchtime (21st of December). I will even slip in a brand new Sarcoma UK wristband that the lovely charity sent me yesterday for raising awareness. Huge love.