Self-Publishing to Preserve My Family’s History

From time to time in this space, Balboa Press publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. These  are the words of Merima Jackson, author of “Schicksal. You can follow Merima on Twitter at @Merimajay or her website here to receive a free publishing guide and to receive more information on self-publishing your book with Balboa Press.

So you’ve written a book?

So had I. When my last living relative, my father, died, the stories I heard as a child rattled around inside me. I felt internally driven to write my parents’ story. It began to take form, my initial effort totaling 998 words. I sighed. As we never spoke of war at home, my ignorance loomed larger than the loneliness inside. Cliché as it sounds, a journey had begun.

SKU-000964954Schicksal, birthed from hardships, rests on the platform of World War II and examines the resilience of the human spirit. War manifests as an indiscriminate animal lashing out in anger and inviting reprisal. Ordinary folk suffer, facing travail with little choice but to continue.

Yet life goes on in the midst of this temporary insanity. Resilience, forgiveness and hope emerge as the keystones to survival. Adversity is often catalytic in this process, inviting us to transcend. As we grow we make our peace with the storms, forgive the seemingly unforgivable and begin again. That is my parents’ story.

Once I finished writing, it was time to get this thing published.

Initially, I vowed to take the traditional publishing path. Two literary agents in my area caught my attention, and the communication process with one began. I waited and waited and waited. I sent emails; I phoned and waited and phoned. After nearly nine months, the fate of my manuscript still seemed uncertain.

One day I made that fateful call. The very next day, the rejection letter sat in my inbox. Acute disappointment and frustration washed over me. I allowed myself thirty minutes of self-pity and typed self-publishing into Google. Balboa Press came up on page one. I read everything on the site, went for a walk and read it all again. Biting the bullet, I inquired.

Whilst really excited, I also felt terrified. What if I had made a mistake? The staff was genuinely interested in my book, enthusiastically congratulating me on its completion. I felt reassured to have someone who understood the industry working with me. Whilst Balboa Press offered me suggestions, I knew I had the final say in what went to press.

The affiliation with Hay House increased my confidence in my choice. Louise Hay’s vision creating a highly successful, self-help genre, gave me impetus to try something innovative: self-publishing. I felt excited to participate in something new. Balboa Press encouraged me, supported me and within a short period of time I held that treasured, first copy of my book in my hands.

ThinkstockPhotos-464714129Success is a process requiring tenacity, vision and faith.

So never lose sight of the inspiration that guided you when wrote your book. Dream big! The marketplace is huge. If you are not in the industry, get help and be prepared to invest in the success of your book. The publishing industry is vast and complex, so use discernment to find the appropriate level of help for your needs.

Seeing the unknown as an adventure, a puzzle to be solved, keeps you creative and enthusiastic as you work away opening as many doors as you can. Intuition was the powerful and reliable guide which lead me to Balboa Press, making Schicksal a reality.

Balboa Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through our Facebook page at, by tweeting us at @BalboaPress, or by emailing dghosh@ We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider all of them. Balboa Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.

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