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Publishing my book on Microbiome Modification

In 2015 I wrote my first book The Scar that won't Heal about the connection between unexpressed emotions and physical disease. It was a labour of love. I had a rough plan drafted which had a working title of 'everyday trauma' because my thesis was that trauma was extremely common and didn't just result from the extreme experiences of abuse and abandonment but from absences of connection and support when you needed it (something that Dr Gabor Mate has since develope

d further in his book The Myth of Normal).

I found that the book struck a chord with readers, especially the first chapter which was my story. Other books soon followed as I learned my craft of self-publishing step by step. I now have 7 books all told and the journey I had in learning to properly publish them has been told in my previous blogs.

Today I want to talk about the experience of being 'discovered' by a publishing house and having one of my books published the conventional way.

Last year in 2023 Mercury Publishing (a subsidiary of De Gruyter's) contacted me and asked me whether they could publish my second book The World Within. We entered negotiations and in the event they have now published it as 'Microbiome Modification' - a slightly less poetic title than mine (they had their eye on keywords!!). It's been a long slow process.

Despite having the existing book written (so no need to actually write it) it's still taken me 15 months to get the point of publications (firstly working many hours to get the manuscript in their format - about 10 days work all told) and then having to find new references as some of mine were no longer available (that happens online), it's still only just been published in kindle form. And I have certainly had to learn how the process works with a publisher - proofing, then copy editing, then layout, then printing. It's been a heck of a ride.

I assumed also that they would have access to high quality images or would be able to get licences for the ones I already had but that proved wrong. I had to source copyright-free images in high quality format which took many hours of work to compile and reference. In some cases I had to replace the ones I had in my self-published book as they were not high quality enough. It's been quite a irksome process.

Add to that the difficulties in communication and I would say it's not been the exciting ride I'd hoped and I'd think twice about doing it again. you get no money up front by the way. This is no JK Rowling!! you get about 12 -15% royalties on any sales (compared to 60% on Amazon). So it's only if they market your book correctly to the right audience that you will make much. Watch this space for whether that happens here.


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