Jason has been harassing me (he'd call it encouraging me, but let's be honest here) to put together a collection of my own short stories for well over a year now. Finally, to shut him up, I took a look at what I had. Were there enough stories here to fill out a book? Had the rights expired yet on past stories that had been published in other anthologies? If not, would the publishers ever really notice anyway?
I wrote a few new stories, liked some old ones enough to want to reprint them, and was able to pull together a collection of twelve tales. I gathered them up in a pile, threw them at Jason and said "Here! Do something with these!"
What Jason likes to tell people is that he will come up with an idea, and then have his wife execute them. True to form, he handed them right back to me and said "you're the editor!"
ANY writer will tell you (if they're a good writer, that is) that it's impossible to edit your own work. You simply can't be objective. Plus, you know what you meant to write, so if there's a missing "the" or "disemboweled" in a sentence, your mind, as the author, will fill it in automatically, and you won't catch the error. So I emailed some friends, begged them to provide me with free editing and proofreading services, and sent off the stories. This bought me about seven days of quality time to relax and play Candy Crush.
My friends (thank you, Catherine Grant, Jan Kozlowski, and Kristi Petersen Schoonover) were pretty efficient, and got the stories back in record time. Now, it was on to formatting and layout. Which, by the way, I have zero experience doing. But Jason had the bright idea that we should start our own small publishing press, so I had to give myself a crash course in Formatting 101.
I finished the layout, uploaded the file, looked over the proof, found a period where a comma should be, fixed it, uploaded the file, looked over the proof, found two spots with extra spaces, fixed it, uploaded the file, looked over the proof, found a missing "disemboweled," fixed it, uploaded the file . . . you get the idea.
Eventually, the file was to my satisfaction, and I green lighted the print copy. In between Candy Crush and Formatting 101, I'd contacted a cover artist (not the singing kind) and Stephanie Johnson designed an incredible cover for the collection. On Thursday, a box arrived. I had a brand new book, written by ME, in my hot little hands. If I hadn't been so tired from driving Miss Daisy around all week, I would've jumped for joy.
I'll admit it feels pretty incredible to hold your own book and see your name on the cover as the author. I immediately started setting up dates for a book tour, which begins tomorrow. That's right: I'll be appearing at the Sixth Annual Homemade for the Holidays Craft Fair at St. James Episcopal Church in Preston on Saturday. I'll try not to let all of this media attention now that I'm a famous author go to my head.