If you're going to achieve a lifetime goal, you might as well pause for a moment and gather together some of your bestest peeps to celebrate.
I'll admit, I spent a restful couple of hours perusing potential theme beverages...
Oooh, a maple-beet shuberita? Given that I was borrowing a house for the party, and a beet-based drink MIGHT have indelible consequences...
I chose a white Sangria-is-Thicker-than Blood, an icy Emily Dickenson (Because I Would Not Stop for Death/He Kindly Made Me Tea), and cheerful ole beer.
So, when you're planning a party around books, what's an appropriate party decor? How about that entire filing cabinet of revisions to the novel from writing workshops, my beloved writing group, and beta readers?
Those dead tree carcasses transmogrified into table-runners, decorative garland. and decorative stars.
Because the main character, Nicola Jones, is an artist, we set up an artists' station, with paint and blank watercolor paper in the form of bookmarks and postcards.
Bookmarks for reading, of course, but postcards because –– well, it's part of the novel to perhaps encourage you to pop a note in the mail, saunter back across that burning bridge, maybe reconnect with someone.
And plus––obvie!––pretty colors.
Books arrived in time (Hurrah!).
At my cheerleader-in-chief, Jennifer Holmberg's, suggestion, I set up a Venmo for the "bookstore."
And we established the pile of books next to the television, so Mr. Linton could both mind the store AND watch the game.
The day was amazing. There was so much good food, and so many good friends!
I signed books (okay, okay, confession time: I DID practice a formal "author's signature" different from my usual legal scrawl, a practice that felt both transgressive and exhilarating, like wearing someone else's steep, very glamorous shoes).
It was also my public reading debut. This is a red-letter-day event for any author: to project words into a public space? Lawsieday, that's a big dang deal.
I'm not shy about speaking in public--one of my past jobs involved what the industry calls "stand-up training," where you have an audience of adults who are meant to learn something by corporate fiat. Imagine the enthusiasm.
But this crowd--! Awesome. Made me feel like a million bucks.
Was I weepy? Did I feel my heartstrings plucked and twanged by the kindness of my people and family? Did I also laugh with immoderate mirth?
I regret only that I did not take more photos.
"So, what was making you swear?" my sweet husband inquired.
I gave him a level look and said, "Do you really want to hear about hard-returns, frame-anchors, or formatting?"
After a considering pause,"No, not really. But did you prevail?"
It seems so simple: convert my document to ePub, upload it, add the beautiful cover, and Bob's your not-so-creepy uncle, a book!
My experience says electronic publishing is as varied and random as evolution. Like the creatures in WTF, Evolution, actually, all weird decorative feathers and hidden poison.
But even with a colorful metaphor, there's no dressing it up: this part of publishing is dead boring and hard. Glued to my MacBook ("Getting tired, boss," it tells me, randomly requiring a hard boot in the morning), I've been rearranging punctuation marks.
Here's the boulder I have been rolling uphill: there's an MS Word document that has to be opened in Pages, from which I can export an ePub file, which can be uploaded and then checked for (she giggles) accuracy.
iBooks is pretty simple, aside from the random extra blank pages it likes to insert, all "Take that, lowly varlet!"
Meanwhile, Kobo ONLY accepts three fonts. All others induce an episode of the vapors.
Oh, Kobo. I have tendonitis because of you. Yet I persist in this wrestling match because KOBO includes Overdrive. Overdrive.
Library users know: Overdrive is how you can read books on your Kindle, etc., FROM THE LIBRARY.
Which means taxes have already paid for them.
So that's me, less than a week from launch, helping stretch your tax dollar.