And this is what I looked like:
After all the writing, rewriting, designing and waiting, it was here.
I actually looked more like this:
And now the real work begins. Wait, that's not entirely accurate. It was a lot of work to write a book. I think mine was easier to write than for most authors because mine is a bunch of short essays. But, if I thought I was done with my book when I typed "The End", I was sorely mistaken. I also didn't actually type "the end" at the end; I'm being metaphorical. (That's what we writers do.)
First there were the thousands of edits I needed to accept or reject. I don't know how authors did before the Word track changes function; all those corrections and retyping must have been mind-boggling--just keeping track of all that paper. It's best that my dream didn't come true until the 21st century so I could take advantage of all this electronic assistance. I would have been a disaster if I had to manage reams of paper and typewriter ribbons and remembering where I left off.
Once the editors were done with me, the layout folks put it all together, nice and neat. I still had to review it three times before it was deemed "Final". After that, it was time to work on the book cover. I searched high and low for images that I liked to send in to the designer who then put together a cover that hopefully represented my wishes. It does.
I had to find people to write blurbs for me to include on the back cover. Fortunately, I know some wonderfully generous and supportive writers who gave of their time and experience to help my book along its way. I am so grateful to them, I am going to name them here: Gina Barreca, Jan Coffey and Steven Parlato. You should definitely read their work if you haven't already. (I mean, after mine...)
Then it was time to wait. "For what?" you ask? Well, the publisher decides the Pub Date and it was still about five months away. It seemed to me like an eternity, but as I came to find out, it was no time at all. I had Things to Do. Lots of Things. And that's what I mean by the real work because from here on out, the focus is all promotion, publicity and marketing so that I can get people to read my book.
That's the goal, isn't it? Once a book is written, it would be nice if folks bought it, read it and said nice things about it. (I am not even going to indulge in my fantastical imagination of appearing on the Today Show, so don't worry.) Once upon a time, the time when all this stuff was done on a typewriter, the writer wrote and other people peddled the book. Now the writer has to get out there and promote, promote, promote!
So, that's next for me. As much as I'd like to stay safe and sound here at my desk and write all day, the next few months are going to require my learning some new skills. Like picking up the phone and calling people I don't know. And convincing them that they should carry my book in their stores or sign me up for an appearance where I can (yikes!) read from my book and convince even more people to buy my book. I'm already nervous!
As Navin Johnson says, "Things are going to happen to me now." I am looking forward to the whole experience--however it turns out. It's what I always dreamed of, even if my dream didn't think to include this marketing part. It is my dream and it came true. And that, my friends, is already awesome.