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Self-publishing triumph

April 30, 2014

Several years ago I encouraged my father to write a memoir. Always a prolific writer, he needed a new project. If you google–James Franklin McDonald, or Jim McDonald, Dundas, ON—you will find dozens of letters to the editors of local and national newspapers. He calls his opinions “sizzling.” I call them—well that’s another story. He has also contributed many works of fiction and travel writing to CANADIAN STORIES Magazine. He needed a project and I wanted him to record the remarkable story of his childhood for posterity.

My brother, Bruce McDonald took the coil-bound/MSPublisher version that I produced and had it professionally printed with illustrations by artist Norman Lup-Man Yeung. Dad was thrilled, but the process was expensive and only a few copies were printed for family.

But it waDads worth it. My father said, “Nothing I have ever written to date has ever matched the trauma that I experienced writing about my early life….but I am finally at peace with myself because I can talk about it without reservation.” And in the Forward to the lovely volume, Bruce predicted, “This story will give birth to many more.”

Last summer, Dad asked me to gather all his writings into one book, including his original autobiography, along with eight memoir pieces, travel stories, essays, a selection of his “sizzling” opinion letters and two delightful short stories.

A local printing house– TLAC Digital and Print Publishing Studio— was both reasonable and extremely helpful. Andrew Weiner helped me figure out how to do the layout in Word. Their designer, Katherine Verhoeven, created the perfect cover. For 50 copies of a 224 page volume the total was approximately $1,000.

Dad mailed off copies to friends and family. Others heard about it and called to ask for their own copies. Dad spent much of this deeply cold winter respondad bookding to reviews and fan mail with comments like, “Riveting” and “This really moved me.”

By self-publishing and sharing his work, my father reconnected with old friends, set up lunch dates, pub dates and left them wanting more. Volume two, Striving to Excel is in the hands of our helpful printers!

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