Sunday, January 19, 2014

"I'm in print!"

 This was delivered to my house the other day:

 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.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Oh, come on!

My husband sent me an IM the other day (because he was downstairs and I was upstairs - why shout when you can chat on the Internet like civilized people?). The information contained therein was a link to an article about Kale. Specifically, using it in juicing, which I do about 3-4 times a week. I am drinking green juice on those mornings so I can become more healthy, of course. I drop a lemon, several thick leaves of kale, a cucumber, a couple of stalks of celery and a green apple into my Breville juicer and drink up. So, so healthy. Health just oozes from this beverage.

In addition to drinking green juice on most mornings, I have cut out most artificial ingredients from my diet. No fake sweeteners, no "natural flavors", and no ingredients over 10 syllables. I am having a little trouble with the white flour/white sugar eviction, but whole grains can usually be found in my home and most of the white stuff is in my baking. Like I'm going to stop baking shortbread.  This has been my goal for almost a year now in an effort to rid my body of toxins. If I can't be thinner, I can at least be chemical-free. And to top it all off, I eat broccoli as often as I can get it. I read, from Maria Shriver no less, that broccoli is good for warding off Alzheimer's disease and cancer. So that goes on my plate, as often as possible.

Until this dumb article. The writer appears to be in my boat because the first thing she pointed out is that kale is not good for people with hypothyroidism, with which she had recently been diagnosed. That's what I have. I read on. There are more things that are not good for hypothyroidism. First on the list? Broccoli.

The tone of the New York Times article is similar to my own complaint: Wahhh! What's a girl to do? Eat right, cut out additives, get a little exercise - just when you think you're on to something, some doctor or expert or study comes along and admonishes you for not doing enough to stay healthy. First it's the foods you eat, not the amount of exercise you get, so you review your meals with a nutritionist's sharp eye and cut out fats and sugars and carbs and color. But wait! There's a new study that says you can eat anything you want, as long as you adopt the exciting new 7-minute-a-day exercise drill. And there's an app for it all to make it so much easier!

Until the next thing.

What I always end up coming to is this: They're all right. Broccoli is always going to be a better choice for me than, say, a slice of chocolate cake. (Dammit.) Walking to work more times a week is always going to be better for me than taking my car. And it's more embarrassing that I don't walk more because I live merely a half a mile away from my office. It's even shorter if I cut through the apartment complex behind my backyard.

Even with my hypothyroidism, I can make healthy choices that will keep me going a few more years so that even when I make not-so-healthy choices (Second glass of wine? Yes, please) it won't take me too long to get back on track. I think getting older helps, too. I'm not an indestructible 20-something anymore; I have aches and pains! (Probably from my indestructible 20s.) Being older makes me wiser and it is required of me to make better choices now. But I'm not giving up on green juice yet. Or chocolate cake.