At last! I’ve received and approved the final versions of my front and back cover designs, and I’m really…relieved. Also, I’m quite pleased with the results.
If writing a book is a labor of love, how much more the publishing process! My first book was actually written long ago, so in that regard, I’m fortunate. My book is actually my diaries I wrote during adolescence, and I’m lucky to have kept up with them after three decades. Do most other people still have the diaries they kept as teenagers? I don’t know. Perhaps it’s not so uncommon. Anyway, I seriously doubt they’re as interesting as mine are.
In any case, in order to actually publish, the first thing I had to set myself to do was to transcribe five handwritten books into digital format, which was tedious. OMG. So tedious.
On the good days (long passed), my handwriting was fairly legible, even if it was fat and bubbly, swirly, curvy, and generally bore all the hallmarks of the hand of a teenaged girl, replete with a generous interspersion of hearts, smiley faces, angry scribbles, doodles, and necessary diagrams to illustrate exactly how close Steve Papin, the football jock, sat in respect to my assigned desk in Algebra class.
On other days, I could glare at a single word for several minutes, trying to decipher it, desperately looking at the other words preceding and following it within the sentence, searching for clues. So it took some time…several weeks, actually, which soon morphed into a few months.
And when I had the completed manuscript? That’s when the real work began of searching for a publisher, and trying to determine how being an indie author was different from signing a contract with a traditional publisher. I’m old-school. I like books…the look of them, the feel of them, the sensation of holding one in my hands and examining it. I like to have a hard copy in my hands and actually turn the pages. I like the ability to throw it on the floor at the foot of my bed when I’m done reading for the night, before turning off the light.
So I knew Silicon Valley Girl would be in print, one way or another, and would not merely be an e-book. I’m a Gen-Xer, so…no explanation required. Either you get it or you don’t, but reading an entire book on a computer screen or handheld device hurts my eyes. I can only stare at a screen for so long before it becomes really annoying, so I read short things online, like blogs and articles.
I’ve seen Kindles, and they’re better on the eyes, but still not the same for me as just holding a damned book. A book is a book is a book is a book, but an e-book or Kindle book is a completely different animal. I like all sorts of animals. But I love books. Real books in the 3D world that I can hold in my hands, and stare at the cover and illustrations within for as long as I like, easily turning back to the front cover, back cover, About the Author, blurb, and pictures inside whenever I get the inkling at various parts of the story.
Publishing? It’s a journey, and it’s definitely not for the faint of heart. It’s a lot of work and it takes patience. A lot of patience. Because just as with a traditional publisher, there are edits upon edits, seemingly endless page proofs displaying layout and design, and extensive email messages between the author and publisher to make sure that everything is as it should be. The author has a clear vision of what she wants, but that’s not always easy to convey to someone on the receiving end of an email, or even a telephone. And really? I prefer email, because I communicate best by writing, and it’s easier to get the details down in print form than it is in a conversation, relying on someone else to remember what I’m saying or simply take notes. Don’t try to take notes. I’ll just send you a damn email. How about that? Simple. Easy. Really hard to misinterpret if one communicates clearly, effectively, and with as much detail as possible.
But this is all for another blog entry and another day.
This post is to celebrate this milestone. I have a book cover, and I totally had creative control over it. At the publisher’s request, I sent them ideas, pictures, and explained the concept. Their cover designer did a wonderful job. They sent it to me, I looked at it, explained what didn’t jibe with my original vision, communicated that, and waited for the cover designer to make changes and submit for my approval.
It was at this point that I happened to come across a blog post that described how most authors dislike their first book covers and can always change them for future editions. So I made a mental note to just go with it, and not get too hung up on making any more changes than absolutely necessary. Because if you want to be published, you don’t slow down the process by haggling over every minute detail of a book cover design. There are people trained to design book covers, and I’d seen my publisher’s book store and had liked the covers of many of the books. That’s part of the reason I chose them.
Most authors with traditional publishers don’t have any control over their book cover designs, and here I had complete control over mine, so I’m extremely grateful for that.
I also signed a non-exclusive contract for publishing services, so I can publish my book elsewhere at any time, independently or though a traditional publisher. I own the copyright to Silicon Valley Girl, as well as ALL RIGHTS to distribute and sell the manuscript in other print and digital formats.
I still remember when I got my first mock ups for the front and back covers, and I literally half-laughed/half-gasped out loud. My hand involuntarily shot up to cover my mouth, I was so amazed that it was there! A real book cover was there, and my publishing dream was indeed becoming reality.
Now, it’s just a little while longer as I wait for the final page proofs, which come after/as a result of two series of edits. I’m THISCLOSE to being a published author now, and I’m thrilled. Absolutely thrilled.
Then begins the marketing and promotion and comes the book launch. Then? I wait. And see if this book catches on. And I so hope it does.
Also. I’m going to need reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, and any other place that gets plenty of traffic. If you’d like to receive an advance copy of Silicon Valley Girl in exchange for a solid review, just let me know. It’s yours.