Five years ago, I self-published the second edition of a book I’d originally written with my friend and associate Lauren Gellman in 1998. The first edition, which was published by St. Martin’s Press, was out of print, and I didn’t want to go through the long, grueling process of finding an agent and publisher again. So I went ahead and published an electronic second edition on Amazon.
After a few months of promotion, during which I gave away more than 15,000 copies, I turned my attention to other projects. I stopped reading the reviews on Amazon — until yesterday, when for some undefinable reason I decided to see if anything new had popped up.
The book is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome: A Treatment Guide, 2nd Edition. At the time of its first release in 1998, there were no other books on the market focusing on treatments for the disease, which is not only difficult to treat, but permanently disables about a quarter of the people who contract it. (In the late 90s, the press was still calling it “yuppie flu.” It is properly called myalgic encephalomyelitis.) The book was groundbreaking. But only 5,000 copies were sold. The book’s release was, as a British friend of mine put it, “Silent as a pee in bath.”
The second edition was about twice as long as the first. (One reason I published the second edition as an ebook was that nobody would have been able to afford, let alone lift, a 750-page book.) I put a year of work into it, which I chalked up as a “labor of love” — something that was a noble effort, if ultimately unacknowledged.
All of that changed yesterday. Below is the review I found of my book. I don’t know this person. I will never meet this person. But my heart was torn when I read this review on Amazon.
Read the rest on her blog. And hope that your writing, or a book you find online or in a book store, can help someone in a similar way.