I have completed my first monograph. A while ago, actually. Ever since I have been pondering over the question, what the most appropriate road to publishing should be. For me. I seem to have two options. I can look for a renowned publisher, undergo their peer review and then hope for the best. If they publish me, my book will cost something like 60 € and be available in libraries. You know, dead tree. People will be able to go there, read it and quote it. Most won’t, because their library doesn’t have it. Or because they aren’t ready to gamble and spent time looking for a book they don’t know will be of much use to them. If I am lucky, my text will be available as an e-book. Although in that case it is not unlikely it will be accessible through one of those DRM-protecting portals that render actually reading a book almost impossible. I will be able to put it on my list of publications though – and impress people (or not) by how well (or badly) I have done in finding a publisher. I am not kidding myself into thinking many people will read my book that way. Unfortunately, I really want it to be read by anyone who is interested. I really wanted to say what I said, although I might say it differently at a later time.
So, there is option two – I could just put it out there, for anyone to find, to browse, to read, to like (or find boring). In one variation, I just put it there, for example on my university depository, and wait. In another, I actually put some work in it and go over the text one more time, change some things, have a graphic designer make a smashing cover and a layouter make the text look great. And get him to do that in all kinds of formats. My expense, but also my treat. I would upload it on GoogleBooks and all kinds of other platforms. And maybe even ask some people to write a review somewhere. What would change? Well, anyone could find it, browse it, read it. It would lack the credibility that comes with a publisher and have to rely on its own content and history. Tough sell. But I believe my argument to be able to stand to that scrutiny. And I want it to. I am not kidding myself – not many more if any people would actually read it. They could, though. Nothing more than Internet access would be needed and – you are good to go!
I have pondered the pros and cons for a long time. I have weighed scientific reputation, the chance of a career in academia and my conviction that knowledge simply wants to be free. But who am I kidding, mostly I have just been a tiny bit scared of simply doing what I decided a long time ago. That’s a very stupid reason not to do something you believe is right – so here it goes: The 2011 version of my first book is available online. And I will do all the above things and make a beautiful even better version – with cover, some changes on the text and everything. I hope, you find it of interest. And even if you don’t, I know it is not just the lack of money or the long way to the library that kept you from reading. It is more honest that way.