That’s a question I’ve been hearing quite a bit lately… what’s up with your Birthday Muse story? And, yes, I’ve been a bit negligent in posting updates here on my site to bring people up to date on The Extraordinary Adventures of the 25 Year Old Birthday Muse. So, here’s the scoop….
The book is being published!
And, no, you don’t get to read it!
Huh?!?! What? John, you slimy selfish book-hoarder!
Actually, the book was getting nice traction in my efforts to find an agent and publisher, and I’m reasonably sure I would have found an energetic and enthusiastic representative for my work. However, as my agent search progressed and I continued making small changes to the story (new adventures, tighter writing, solidifying the story) my vision for the actual book continued to scream in terms of how the book would actually look in production.
While the words in the story are certainly the focus, the design for the book, in my eyes, was equally important. Being somewhat of a control freak when it comes to my own work, I would want a say in page layout, cover design, font selection, chapter breaks, graphics and all the other refined appointments that would make my book the storybook I envisioned in my mind. In fact, every version of the story, from the very first 18,000 word copy printed on 8 1/2 by 11 paper and packaged in a spiffy plastic velo-bind, has included all kinds of in-line full color paintings and illustrations of the mythological characters who make cameo appearances throughout the story. Think “fancy book report” or “really long magazine article” and you have the idea.
Now, ask yourself, what publisher in their right mind is going to take a full-color chance on a complete unknown for his first novel? While it would be great to see my book at Borders or on an Amazon best sellers list, I’d ultimately be compromising “what I wanted to see” for mass market black & white reality.
Instead, I decided to try my hand at designing the book as I’d like to see it published, and I’ve spent the past couple of months making all the decisions a publishing house would face in bringing a new project from loose-leaf, double-spaced monotony to the finished product you find in your favorite local book store. The art work has been given the page space each magnificent painting deserves, headers and footers have been set, chapter breaks speak boldly… it looks very, very nice and I’m quite happy with the book I’ve created. It does justice to the charming story within.
All told, the finished product is now over 31,000 words, filling 176 pages of glorious 6”x9” novel-size color — and, as I suspected, the production cost is something few profitable book dealers would dare touch… about $31 per book. That’s without tacking on any hand grease for the publisher, distributor, retailer or me.
So, this is truly a self-indulgent exercise of realizing my own vision, which is cool with me, I just wanted something to place on my shelf that looked nicer than a book report.
There’s a very nice on-line self-publishing house I’m working with to produce the few books that will be printed-on-demand (www.lulu.com), and as I type I’m awaiting my first proof-copy. No doubt, I’ll find some kind of flaw before making changes and then printing up those few, special copies being reserved for family and friends.
That’s the scoop and I like my book. Perhaps, the finest no one will ever see!