On the Birth of a Book
Today, May 1, 2012, my book, A Gift for My Sister, was born. Yes, the process is like a pregnancy except exxxtrrremmmelllly extended. Yes, there’s a burst of exaltation when it’s finally on stands in bookstores across the country, and “add to cart” buttons on online websites. So today my baby is finally out in the world. After the year or so of writing (which is kinda like the fun sex part), and another year of revisions suggested by my editor, then a line editor, then another line editor (which is kinda like doctor’s visits).
Somewhere during the revision process, my editor emailed me two covers. Luckily, the one I preferred was also the one my editor, her assistants, and my agent favored. I suggested they pop the cover with orange print. Soon, it was in galleys, which is a pdf file of the text. More line edits were done. Repetitive line edits assure perfection in terms of consistency, spelling, and grammar. But line edits, and typos seem infinite.
Shortly before Christmas, I received an Advanced Reader’s Copy, the book with a paper cover that the publisher sends out for reviews. Meanwhile, line editors combed through the prose once again. I received a copy of the final cover the end of January. Nothing for several months. Somewhere my book was printed, headbands sewn on the signatures of text, and fly leafs glued to the cover, but I had no idea when these momentous events occurred. Then, I had a reading to do the next week, but no book. I held my breath, watched my mailbox. A reporter interviewed me who received the book, but had not brought it with him. I asked him if it looked good, and he assured me my unseen baby was beautiful. I contacted my editor who overnighted several copies.
It was breathtaking. Greater than the sum of its parts. The shiny orange print against the almost suede cover was more beautiful than I imagined. Like with a newborn baby, I slowly peeled away the wrapping, (the receiving blanket,) to view the naked book, unveiling the luscious teal cover with a black spine. Juxtaposed against the matt black was the copper foil title, my name, and publisher.
I went to buy orange nail polish to wear to my first reading. And today, it’s out. Officially born. I drove to the closest bookstore closest to see it displayed in window, next to its older sibling.
My book is born, and already out in the world, because this is the part that speeds up. With books, once you give birth, you can blog, you can do readings, and interviews. But A Gift for My Sister is where it will be. It is out in the world for all the readers to enjoy. Hopefully well launched with wings to help it soar.