Reflection: Publishing CALABRIA: THE OTHER ITALY


Writing a book is demanding. Publishing a book is another story. I’m generally very disciplined, so setting myself in front of the computer every day for about ten months was challenging, but doable. Plus, I already had a doctoral dissertation under my belt, so it wasn’t as formidable a task as a first effort might have been.

Walter Gieseking and His Published Chamber Music by Karen Haid

Walter Gieseking and His Published Chamber Music by Karen Haid

However, as with my university treatise, the biggest headache didn’t lie with the actual writing (not to minimize the endeavor in any way), but with everything else associated with the undertaking. My Apple computer certainly was an upgrade from my Brother word processor, and what a relief to be able to upload digital photos as opposed to photocopying and scanning, cutting and pasting, and then covering up the inevitable blemishes along the edges of the images with the white-out tape that seemed oh-so-modern at the time.


How ever did the academic world survive through the typewriter? Perhaps the standards for visual “perfection” weren’t as narrow. My up-to-date experience with typesetting, for example, led to some serious head scratching when a “state-of-the-art” font seemed to react oddly to apostrophes.

Despite the seemingly ultra-flexible kerning available on said font, I still had to deal with words that I hadn’t ever seen before, such as “hes” with an apostrophe floating somewhere over the three letters that to the naked eye didn’t have any space between them whatsoever.

As my language comfort doesn’t embrace all lowercase email messages, I could in no way incorporate such trailblazing interpretations of the English language in the book I had worked so hard to create.


And then one day, a year and a half after I had actually finished writing it, my book arrived. I opened the USPS’s priority mail, flat rate envelope, and I was holding the proof copy in my hand. At first, I felt a flash of disbelief. Through all of the (in retrospect ludicrous) struggles with the details, I had almost been convinced that it wasn’t ever going to happen. (By the way, this is where a memoir writer might have gotten all emotional, but my book is more of a travelogue, so I remained composed as I proudly surveyed the cover.)

Publishing a book, first copy

Calabria: The Other Italy by Karen Haid

Flipping through the pages, I knew that this would be the last opportunity to make changes, so I read through it yet again. This reading was different. Although I told myself that I was on the hunt for errors, I knew that I wasn’t about to find any. I read for the sheer enjoyment.

What a pleasure to actually hold the book in my hands. Although I have plans for an electronic version, I don’t have an e-reader or a tablet. I’ve always read my books the old-fashioned way, and it was such a relief to finally have that satisfaction with the book I had spent so much time with viewed on a computer screen.


Publishing a book

First shipment of books

Shortly thereafter I received my first shipment of books. The UPS driver had them stacked up at my front door before I could answer it. Another couple of boxes arrived the same day in Reggio Calabria, Italy. Members of the Anglo-Italian Club for whom I had presented my book a few months earlier were waiting for the delivery.

Amazon and Barnes & Noble had it up on their sites. A cousin of a friend placed what was probably the first Canadian order. had it on their site a week later, at first stating it wasn’t yet available and then a notice that they had “2 copies with others arriving.”

The official “release date” was January 7th.  It passed without my knowing it. I was busy.

I don’t know how many copies sold in the first month. That report hasn’t yet been communicated to me. I’m not really concerned although I will continue with my publicity and marketing efforts. I had an important story to tell about a neglected, oft-maligned region in southern Italy. I’ve told it, and Calabria: The Other Italy has been published.

Now that you’ve read my reflections on publishing a book based on my four years living, working and traveling in Calabria, are you curious to learn what it’s about?  Calabria: The Other Italy is a non-fiction book that explores daily life, history, culture, art, food and society in a fascinating, southern Italian region that is full of surprises. Read the Book Reviews.

Come to Calabria with me! Check out the itineraries of one of my small-group tours: Calabria tours.

Calabria book

“Like” Calabria: The Other Italy’s Facebook page  and follow me on Karen’s Instagram and Karen’s Twitter for more beautiful pictures and information.

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CALABRIA: THE OTHER ITALY makes a great gift!

Comments 10

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  1. I, too, anxiously awaited my ‘hard’ copy of your HARD labors! And, I have not been disappointed! I am enjoying EVERY word. Never knew “The Other Italy” had SO much to offer. Looking forward to seeing it ‘in person’!

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  2. Dear Karen, we miss you! It’s sleeting with icy rain here as I write this (6.30 a.m.). I got my copy from Luisa on Friday evenig, and once started, I find it difficult to put down! I hardly knew you in Reggio and didn’t expect a sense of humour so similar to my own. As in the Mac advert, “I’m lovin’ it”! I will now send an email to all my British friends and tell them to buy a copy. I found your post office adventures hilarious! Seriously though, I think you’ve really caught the essence of Calabria , my adopted homeland. It’s a love-hate relationship!

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      Hi Janet,
      Sorry about the bad weather – hopefully it won’t turn out as bad as the predictions, but it sounds like a good day to stay at home and read! I miss y’all (from my time in Virginia), too, although I don’t miss that winter dampness. I’m glad you’re enjoying my book so much, and for someone like yourself who has lived a lifetime in Calabria and has truly adopted it as your homeland, I take it as a real compliment that you feel my book has captured its essence.
      (and I really appreciate your passing the word!)

  3. Yès, I’m sending an e-mail to my English friends, even a few helps to boost sales! Although I’m lapping it up ( I’m@very fast reader), I’ve encountered a couple of printing errors, so when I finish it, I’ll send you a note……FOR THE SECOND EDITION,!! Be in touch soon, buona giornata! Love Janet

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      Thanks, Janet! I would appreciate knowing about errors – more eyes = more errors. So far, I’ve found 2 instances of homophones – there’s that English language tripping me up! P. 64 waste-waist and P. 142 damns-dams Let me know of anything else!
      All the best from sunny Las Vegas!

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