Friday, July 29, 2011


In this journey of writing and publishing a book, there are certain moments that stand out. It’s all a learning curve and, for me, every new experience has been both exciting and scary. The lesser moments can prepare us for the bigger ones, such as the day when a FedEx driver steps onto your porch, rings your doorbell, and points in the 95-degree heat to seven boxes of books that he will carry into your house.

My book is here.

I knew that the boxes held copies of It Started with Dracula: The Count, My Mother, and Me; my publisher had told me it was off press and would be arriving soon. This was the real deal.
I came upstairs to write my publisher an e-mail and then realized I couldn’t write it yet. I hadn’t opened any of the boxes. I didn’t work in publishing thirty years for nothing; we check books when they are delivered. I went back downstairs, slit the tape on the top carton, and removed the first book; held it, turned it, flipped the pages quickly.
The thing about receiving printed books is that they’re printed. Every time you’re asked to check proofs along the way, you have yet another chance to find the mistakes. Once a book is printed, you want to look through it, but you don’t…at least, if you’re me.
I came back upstairs and started to write to my publisher again. I wanted her to know how much I loved my beautiful, beautiful books; but I stopped myself again. I hadn’t looked at every page the way we were taught in Here’s Your Book It Better Be Perfect 101. All right, I made that last part up; but I’ve always felt a huge weight with every new publication until I knew it was all it should be.
I went back down to the stack of boxes and picked up the same book again. I really couldn’t rave about it until I knew that the pages were all there, in order, and right-side-up. I have the greatest respect for printers, but I couldn’t thank my publisher until I’d gone through the book page by page.
I held my breath and began quickly scanning each page, afraid that if I slowed down, I might see “it,” that inevitable error we talked about a few blogs back. So far, so good. A quote I’d hoped would fit into the first pages was missing, but otherwise It Started with Dracula was looking good. I finally wrote that note.
In the next couple of days, I’ll sneak up on my book again. I’ll probably end up reading it, but not today. Today I played hooky. I got a pedicure and then celebrated with my brother: eight ounces of light beer and a trip to the local racetrack. Woo hoo!
Thank you, Bettie Youngs, for believing in my story and turning it into an awesome book. You rock!

1 comment:

  1. Hey, Jane. This is wonderful! I can relate. I felt the same way when I got my first book. I was scared to death to examine it closely.
    Congratulations! Can't wait to get a copy!