Yesterday evening, I got a call. It was Ellen, one of the partners at my publisher, Bright Sky Press, and the head of its design department.
"Karen," she said. "They're here."
I held my breath. "Ellen," I said nervously, "what's here?"
I could almost hear her smiling on the phone. "The first shipment of your book is here. Come in the morning, and you'll see."
Needless to say, this morning I rushed Alex through breakfast and getting dressed, and then I drove her to school. I slowed down enough for her to tuck and roll out of the car, and then as soon as she cleared the doorway, I sped to Bright Sky's offices. Ellen was there to meet me.
"Are you ready?" she smiled.
"Wait," I said. "I want to photograph this. I want to remember the moment you showed it to me." I reached into my bag, and grabbed my camera.
"Okay," I said, "go."
"Good Lord," I breathed. "It's a book."
"Yes!" Ellen laughed. "It is, absolutely, a book."
I took it from her hands, and stared at it for a while. It's sort of hard to describe the emotions that come flooding in when you hold a copy of a book you wrote for the first time, but one, in particular, stood out:
Complete and utter denial.
I was all, "Yeah, nice book. I bet the author is proud." Ellen laughed again. But I was serious: I was having a really hard time wrapping my mind around the concept that I wrote and shot all 254 pages of the thing. I mean, I remember the long hours, writing the words, and shooting the images, and I recall exactly where I was when I created every page of the book, but man, now it's actually a book. How is this possible?
Anyway, besides denial, my second emotion was equally clear: overwhelming pleasure at how beautiful the book turned out.
Now, I know that last sentence might sound like rampant egotism, but bear with me for a moment: when I finished writing and shooting the manuscript, the only thing I handed to my publisher was a thumb drive with a large Microsoft Word document, and a bunch of .jpgs. It didn't look like anything when I turned it in. It was Ellen and her team (particularly the designer who I worked most closely with, Marla) who made the decisions regarding how the book would look: the shape and size of the book, how the images and text would be laid out, fonts, colour schemes, the general look-and-feel, and everything else that goes along with a book's design. And they did such an amazingly beautiful job -- seriously, I feel such deep gratitude to them.
Here's a sneak peak:
See? They totally made me look good, and other than simply providing them digital content, I can't take any credit for how the book looks. Such incredible talent, and I am deeply -- deeply -- indebted to them (and everyone, really, at Bright Sky).
So anyway, it's starting to dawn on me that this is actual evidence of all my work over the past 18 months, and I'm increasingly becoming more excited about the fact that I'm holding a book that I really did write and shoot. This first delivery was a small air shipment, intended for sending to members of the press and others who hopefully will be doing some PR for the book. The main shipment of books is, literally and right at this moment, on a slow boat from China, and is expected to get here in November. So if you've ordered a book, it's still going to be a few weeks before you receive it. But hang in there, it's coming soon.
If, however, you haven't pre-ordered your book yet because you wanted to be sure it was actually a real book, well now you can, because I assure you, it absolutely is.
I know this because now, I have one.
And I can't wait for you to see it.