I did it! After 7 years I finally put together my notes, memories, and photos and published a family-only little travel memoir of the October 2015 first-time trip to Japan I took with my sister and our daughters to see the land of our heritage and to meet cousins (who could not speak English). That week-plus visit was so challenging for me as to be almost ridiculous. Why? A couple of my language school friends had gone with few Nihongo skills and had a great time. I could speak rudimentary Japanese although I could not understand much when people spoke it back to me (in rapid-fire words I did not know yet). Organized and detail-oriented me had everything planned out with copious notes. Yet still we were “lost” so often it was maddening – I had a bucket list to attend to and no time to waste.
That was probably the problem. I am not a particularly good traveler as I like everything just so with no bumps in the road, and I do not like to be the leader. Since I and most of our group would likely not ever go back to Japan, I wanted to get the most out of that trip. We had only one tour booked and that was just an overnighter, otherwise I was the illiterate guide in a foreign land. I had nervous nightmares beforehand and quite a few came true, hence the title of our book.
The family-only paperback of My Crazy Trip to Japan (via Lulu.com) only went to us travelers, and they loved reliving the memories. Then my dad wanted to read it so I had a copy shipped to him. He and my stepmom LOVED it! When I posted about it on Facebook and told some friends, quite a few wanted to read it. I did not want to publish it for others since it had some family-personal details and photos of us and, most importantly, I did not want to scare people away from visiting Japan. Japan is an amazing country of impressive ancient history mixed with modern plus beautiful rural areas we all fell in love with! With so many others loving their Japan travels with no problems to speak of, I knew it was just me, my OCD personality and expectations, travel inexperience, and some bad luck.
Well, I just put the e-book version on Amazon through its Kindle Direct Publishing arm. I did know how to format the manuscript for e-book and it looks good. KDP has a super-limited cover creator that re-created the one I made for the Lulu paperback original well enough. This e-version is edited to alter the names of my reticent Japanese family members but my fellow travelers were fine with using their real first names. I removed the photos with us in them for our (their) privacy, whether they cared or not. I was pleased to see the photos showed up very well and placed correctly. KDP will take a paperback-formatted manuscript and auto-convert to e-book, but I only uploaded directly for e-book since I figured no one would really want a print version. I priced the e-book as low as possible ($2.99) to still get the 70% royalty (minus Amazon fees). It is available almost worldwide, for laptop and most any device, and it’s free for Kindle Unlimited customers.
So if you’re interested in a boots-on-the-ground experience of my challenging trip to Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and the Japanese Alps, I welcome you to read – and leave review comments please. You can laugh, but I’m not over my exhaustion yet!