One of the most exciting aspects of the e-publishing revolution is the proliferation of new writing that wouldn't be handled by the traditional publishers. I'm thinking particularly here of personal memoires and family stories.
I got into e-publishing to help my husband bring his novel Magnificent Britain in front of an audience. It was several months after the launch of Magnificent Britain that I began to think about publishing a diary that my father had written during World War II. I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety: The Diary of a Petty Officer in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II was released as a Kindle ebook in October last year and I'm really pleased that I took the decision to publish it; my dad, who died many years ago, would have been amazed.
I've downloaded and enjoyed reading several WWII memoires and am currently enjoying reading From Trincomalee to Portsea: The Diary of Eliza Bunt 1818 - 1822 which is a fascinating diary transcribed and explained by Mary Hope Monnery, a descendent of the writer of the diary.
I would urge anyone with a diary, collection of letters or a good memory to put in the work to get it published as a Kindle ebook and here are my reasons why.
You can write about the lives and times of ordinary people which is a wonderful antidote to the mass of books about the rich, powerful and famous. You can relate the big events of history to the life of your own family. When I was researching I Think I Prefer the Tinned Variety: The Diary of a Petty Officer in the Fleet Air Arm during World War II, I found out that the British Pacific Fleet had been ignored at the conclusion of WWII and was known in the literature as "The Forgotten Fleet". You can help to make sure that your ancestor's little bit of history doesn't get forgotten.
You can help readers understand the background to some important historical events from a personal perspective. In Fleet Air Arm Memories 1939 - 1946: Tales of the Brummagem Bastard the author N. H. Mills, assisted by his co-author grand-daughter R. S. Pyne, uses his own records and references to a wide variety of sources to document his experiences as a young recruit in the Fleet Air Arm during WWII. The aspects of his story which relate to the Arctic Convoys are particularly fascinating and have contemporary resonances as the long saga of the Arctic Convoy Medal comes to its conclusion.
You can write to document the way of life of a lost era. In National Service: A Reluctant Snowdrop's Perspective, author Christopher Butler shares his account of the very last months of post-war National Service. We often hear people saying "Bring back National Service" when they're having a rant about some aspect of youth culture they don't like. Well, reading a first hand account of that much vaunted National Service gives some revealing insights into its less positive aspects.
You can write to celebrate the life of a loved and respected relative, friend or colleague. In Our Father's War, the children of a New Zealand RAF pilot have made a compilation of his letters home during World War II. They present a beautifully written account of the life of one young man during that difficult time.
You should write your book because you can! The e-publishing revolution has completely democratised writing and if you've got something to say and you want to share it with others you should make the most of the opportunity. Of course you owe it to your readers to ensure you're offering a good quality product in terms of formatting, proof-reading and use of the English language but the charm and interest in this form of writing lies in its small scale, intimacy, personal details and idiosyncrasies.
There's just one thing before you publish. Make sure you've got a thick skin. You mustn't get upset if readers don't like your book and decide to tell you publically in an Amazon review. I always read the sample of a book before I download it and have never paid for a book that has disappointed me but some readers must just plunge straight in without checking the sample judging by some of the comments that get written.
You might only get a few downloads - who knows? - but the memories and insights you've recorded will be there forever.