I originally wanted to release the book in time for the holidays. Unfortunately several obstacles presented, that I decided would make it impossible. The guy I had solicited to produce my cover fell ill, and I was clueless about how to do the formatting. One format for the paperback and two for the eBooks were required. Plus I was tired from writing, editing, researching the publishing industry, and then some challenging personal issues. It was the middle of November, so the chill in the air was setting off my chronic pain conditions and my S.A.D was starting to set in. When I checked with some online resources to do those cover and formatting tasks, I was told it could take up to two months. Fine. I decided I would wait until spring to release the book, since “before the holidays” looked unlikely. The sun would be back out, it would be a time of renewal, signs of life would be popping from the ground and on trees, and another spiritual holiday would arrive. I effectively “turned it over,” okay with my decision. The holidays are a hectic, stressful time anyway, so I was content to ride it out putting the project on the back burner.
All was well with my new plan until Thanksgiving weekend arrived. On that Saturday, I woke up to find my husband, Gary, poised at his computer. He said “Is this kind of what you had in mind?” On his screen, I was shocked to see the majority of the image that I had described weeks before, as my proposed cover design! I was very taken back as I replied, “Yes..Almost exactly what I had in mind.” Gary is not a graphic artist, he’s a systems analyst. While he’s capable of doing a bang up job on websites (yes he did that for me too), he had never done any function like this one, yet here it was. Everything was there but the woman on the cover. I immediately realized what a kind, thoughtful, touching thing he had done for me. I said and felt the appropriate things, but truly I had pushed thoughts of the book out of my mind. I had been serious about quitting for a few months. I had also just woke up, and wasn’t processing at full speed yet. He told me that he was just getting to the final part of figuring out how to place a woman in the field as I described. Originally it was to be a long haired woman standing with her back to us, looking out into the sky.
Weeks before, my editor had commented that it was too bad I didn’t have some pictures to accompany what I wrote about. I thought about it for a moment, and then realized I did. It wouldn’t be easy and it hadn’t been in my plans, but I spent a day down the basement going through bins of photos that I hadn’t seen in years. It was then that I located the images used in the book. Because of that task, I had seen an old picture taken in my modeling days, where I was seated on some stairs looking up.
Now standing next to Gary, I had an idea. Down the basement I went again, this time knowing exactly where to look. I dug out the old picture and asked Gary if he thought he could black it out. “She” was looking up at the sky, and would be easier to place than a woman standing in the field. He proceeded to experiment with the new task at hand.
I still wasn’t convinced about going back to the original release time, so I sat down at my computer trying to collect my thoughts. At that moment the only thing I was sold on, is that the cover issue would be solved when we resumed the project in the spring. By this time, I had decided to self publish. That story is a matter for a future blog. 🙂 In any case, I had narrowed it down to three companies when I “quit.” The top candidates in self publishing were Lightning Source, Lulu, and CreateSpace (a division of Amazon). On this day I Googled “comparison of self publishing companies” or something like that. To my surprise, a few entries down was a blog by a young fiction writer. In it, he had compared (you guessed it) Lightning Source, Lulu and CreateSpace! I had done enough prior research, that I appreciated “Indiana Jeff’s” comments. It did prompt a couple of other questions, so I sent him an email asking if we might talk. It wasn’t fifteen minutes later, and he called me.
In the course of gathering more information, he asked about my project. I explained the story and the obstacles that we had run into. After hearing what my book was about and my delay in going to print, Jeff told me that HE would format my paperback! On top of that, he would turn me on to “Texas Ted” who had done all of his eBook formatting. Really?! How very unlikely. Hmmmm. I told Jeff I’d get back to him and checked out Ted’s site. The site said he only did fiction. I went ahead and sent him an email, and once again, in a short time he called me. I explained the prior situation about the cover and formatting, and how things seemed to be shifting in the past two hours. Ted readily jumped on board. Much to my amazement, the only thing holding me back now, was me. These three men had given me on small window of opportunity to crawl through, with my track shoes on. Pass or play? I just looked up into the Heavens, shrugged, and said “Let’s go then!”
It took under six days, to get the newly formatted manuscripts back from Jeff and Ted, and then off to the publisher. Gary had finished the cover design before the end of that weekend. By December 14th, the first box of one hundred books arrived on our porch! The book showed up on Amazon, Nook and Kindle by the first week in December. By the skin of our teeth and to my complete amazement…We were a book in time for the holidays. Thanks again boys. 🙂