Two years ago, well aware of my passion for writing, my grandfather asked if I would be willing to edit his autobiography—which he had written over the years using a typewriter—and make copies of it for me and his other seven grandchildren. I happily agreed (I love to type!), but I had no idea it would take me over two years to finish the task!
In May of 2012, I received in the mail Grandpa’s 150-page autobiography and found it contained one loooong paragraph separated by a few chapter breaks…and absolutely no dialogue. Oy! I had some work to do if I expected my sisters and cousins (and some of my grandparents’ close friends) to read his life story from beginning to end and enjoy doing it!
After spending the next year and a half editing and jotting down any questions I had for my grandfather, I finally finished retyping his autobiography into a Microsoft Word document. It took so long because not only did I have other responsibilities in my life that came first, but…well, frankly, sometimes the re-writing and editing process felt more like writing a college term paper (grueling and boring) while my own fictitious WIPs (works in progress) seemed far more fascinating and enjoyable in comparison. Can you guess which I worked on more often in the course of a month?
Once I finished the “first draft,” if you will, I took a break from the autobiography and began researching options for getting the finished work into people’s hands. To have Staples or Office Depot make copies and bind them was going to cost more than a thousand dollars. No thanks. Besides, I liked the idea of making Grandpa’s autobiography into a book. My relatives were more apt to read something they could hold easily in their hands, like a 6”x9” book, rather than 150 bound 8 ½” X 11” pages or an emailed Word document. Looking into self-publishing options, I quickly concluded DiggyPod would be the ideal solution. I didn’t want too many copies, for other than giving them to family and close friends I wasn’t interested in getting copies into the hands of the public, so I found DiggyPod’s minimum order of 24 copies extremely reasonable. I also liked their price tag: under $400 if I did my math correctly.
Keeping DiggyPod in the back of my mind, I returned to Grandpa’s autobiography and did another read-through, making sure the sentences flowed nicely and fact-checking anything I had high-lighted the first time through. When I finally decided the document was as good as I was going to get it, I sent it off via email to get copy-righted and revisited DiggyPod’s website.
Now, DiggyPod offers different options to a writer, depending on how involved you want them to be in handling the visual outcome of your book. For me, I didn’t need or want to pay extra for a fancy cover (again, this book would never be sold in any form nor would it grace the shelves of any American bookstore), so I chose to do the cover work myself in Microsoft Word. Using the easy-to-follow tutorial videos DiggyPod offers on their website, I then changed the parameters of the Word document so it reflected how I wanted the pages to appear in book-form.
From start to finish, it did take a few hours before I could hit that “submit” button, but then, I had never attempted something like this before! Once I submitted the documents (one for the text and two more for the front and back covers), DiggyPod was quick to respond via email and a staff member continued to stay in touch with me throughout the publishing process. At one point I even received a phone call in which she kindly informed me I had a proof waiting in my inbox that required my approval before DiggyPod could start on the actual printing.
In early July 2014, just two weeks after I placed the book order with DiggyPod, I received the finished product in the mail. Talk about a fast turn-around…and all for only $316.00! For what I had hoped to accomplish—converting my grandfather’s autobiography into a readable form for close friends and family—DiggyPod was exactly the self-publishing company I needed. The set of laminated books arrived in perfect condition: no bent pages, no warped covers, no text or picture mistakes. Having heard a few horror stories of what others have gone through to self-publish their works, I’m pleased to say I have nothing but high accolades for DiggyPod.
If a task like the one my grandfather gave me should fall into my hands again in the future, I will not hesitate to use DiggyPod, and I would recommend their services to anyone else seeking to self-publish their own work or, as in my case, the work of others.