Around Florence is no longer a manuscript of loose pages; it is now a bound book full of pages that you turn. Five advance copies arrived in the mail yesterday. It is exciting to see the work of this past year in book form, to see what was just being proposed a year ago actually happen.
It was on June 7, 2013, that Sue Foster at Books ‘N’ Bears received a call from Arcadia Press. They wanted to know if she knew of any writers that could do a history of Florence for their Images of America series. She told them that she had a couple of names in mind and got their contact info. Then she called me.
Within two weeks, I sent them a 30-plus-page book proposal. And by July, I was doing research at the museum. The book had begun, and the next several months were very busy. The last seven weeks, where I did more than half of the chapters, were positively grueling. During that time, I suspended writing this blog, slept only a few hours each night, and ate quick meals. I did nothing but work on the book. Even up to within two weeks of the deadline, I didn’t think I could make it, but I did. I was exhausted and never wanted to see it again.
Six months passed, which was sufficient time for me to recover from the angst of deadline and to be curious about how it turned out. It was the first time to see photos with their captions. And, surprise, surprise, I liked it. I made a number of corrections, but within a reasonable amount, and I even got to see it one more time where I found just a couple of changes.
It is sooo rewarding to see the end result. It arrived in yesterday’s mail. I opened the box, saw the books, and was thrilled. But I only had time for a cursory glance, since I had a friend coming for dinner and much to do.
I had planned to bring out the book after dinner, but within 10 minutes of her arrival, I was handing her a copy to look at. I couldn’t help it.
So today, I sat down and read it from cover to cover and am pleased to report that I didn’t find a single thing to change—either factually or grammatically. Whew!!! That is such a relief. And I still like the way it turned out. It really is exciting to have a book published. I felt the same way with each of my bridge books; the date I saw the first copy of each one is seared into my memory.
The actual publication date for Around Florence is July 14 and books that have been ordered by local businesses should arrive that week. Several businesses in town were contacted last week by Arcadia regarding ordering copies. It took me awhile to figure out how many I can afford to order, and I’ll place my order tomorrow.
And I have some “launch” activities planned. Along with the books came a stack of postcards that I can send to friends and businesses that may have an interest in the book. I’ll be writing a press release for the newspaper, presenting a complimentary copy to the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum (which may also end up as an article in the newspaper), and planning activities and events.
So far, this is what I have planned:
* Saturday, July 19––Books ‘N’ Bears, I’ll be sitting at a table out front from 1 to 5 p.m. with copies of book to talk about, sell, and sign.
* Saturday, July 26––Siuslaw Public Library, I’ll present a PowerPoint program showing many photos from the book, reading some passages, and sharing many anecdotes of how the book came to be.
* Sunday, August 24––Florence Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 10 a.m., this will be a shortened version of the PowerPoint program given at the library.
* Friday, August 29––Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, Storytime program for the last Friday of the month at 7 p.m. This program will be similar to the one given at the library, but the anecdotes will be mostly those concerning the museum. The museum was involved in various ways in helping me put this book together.
When you write a book, there’s nothing like seeing those first copies and holding one in your hands.