I've just had the heady experience of reading my story, University of Souther Georgia: Davy & Tony, as an actual digital book. It's awesome in the most traditional sense...I am filled with awe. It's not just a story I put together and then self-published. While there is nothing inherently wrong with self-publishing, it lacks one thing that books from a publishing house have...the collaboration with other artists.
The gallery proof, for those who aren't aware, is the copy sent to the author before publication. It is the last moment available to check that what you wrote is what you meant, that the grammar is just so, that the words are correct. It's the copy with the cover. It's the one that you say, yes, I meant that. It's got its own special kind of weight.
It's also the copy where you see what those around you have contributed. My husband's time where he took up my normal chores, the editor's eyes that said, no, it can better; I can show you the difference between what you meant and what you said. The cover artist's vision of the people you've created...
It's amazingly simple and simply amazing to think that this will be real now. Other people will see it, read it, and think about it. Some may love it. Some may hate it. But, hopefully, for a few minutes or a few hours or a few days, people will think about what your characters said and did, and they will share with you a world you created for them.
Thank you. Thank you. To all those who help the author make it to this day...we can't do it without you.