February 20, 2012

Getting the Publishing Bug

It all began innocently enough. I was collecting unknown wine terms as I came across them in wine books and articles, and I would then set about looking for definitions. Sometimes it was hard finding definitions. I remember on more than one occasion going through every glossary in every wine book at the local library and not finding a particular word. My collection of words didn’t actually become an obsession, but I was pretty dedicated to it. Eventually my list grew to 150 words and their definitions.

My wife had been following my progress and shared my frustration with the general lack of linguistic resources for wine lovers. When I studied philosophy I was able to buy a dictionary of philosophical terms. Same with psychology, computers and even accounting … every discipline had its own lexicon. But I could find no dictionary of wine terms. And yet it never occurred to me that I was actually compiling one. But my wife didn’t miss it, and one day said to me, “You should consider publishing that. I bet a lot of people have the same problem with wine language.”

Well of course then I was off and running. I spent the next three months scouring libraries and the internet looking for wine terms and definitions. I eventually put together a list of more than 600 tasting terms, although I had to omit a few from the final list because I couldn’t find definitions, or at least consistent definitions.
Then it was time to go to press. Omigod! I’d never thought of publishing before and really had no idea where to start. I was fairly sure that no traditional publisher would be interested in the book as it was a modest effort and a small market niche. So I went to the local Chapters and looked at a few books on self publishing. I bought the one that looked the most useful and pored through it. It laid out a very sensible course of action and I followed it to the letter.
And that has led me to this point, having just launched my third wine book and with one best seller under my belt.

So, what I’d like to do here is chronicle my journey, my successes, my mistakes, and what I have learned about being a self-published author, or as I like to call it, a micro-publisher. I hope you find it useful.

Richard Best, T.F.O.

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