“Aaron…a package just arrived. I think it’s your book.”
I wanted to shout, “Well what are you waiting for?!” But since I was at work, I restrained myself and said quietly, “Well, open it.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes. I have to know!”
And then I had to wait. She couldn’t find a knife or scissors to cut the tape. She fumbled with her keys in her excitement, and then mumbled a little apology. Then, at last, she tore the package open, and I heard her breath escape her.
“Well?” I said, afraid.
“Oh, Aaron,” she said. “Just…wow. It’s so beautiful.”
I didn’t cry. I did wonder how on earth I was going to get anything done at work all day. Trish was thinking the same thing.
“Hmm…” she said. “You’ll have to meet me for lunch so you can get it.” We made plans to meet at 11:00 — it was just barely 10:00 when she called — and I spent the next forty minutes bouncing on the edge of my seat and staring at the clock.
Then I drove across town to meet her, and found her already waiting, sitting in her car in the parking lot, reading my book.
And she was right. It was beautiful. She relinquished it to me and I flipped through it, checked the title page, skimmed my back cover copy. And this time, I almost did cry. It was beautiful.
We went in, ordered our food, and once we were settled I started looking closer. I frowned, and Trish spotted it. “What?”
“Well…” I said. “The font’s a little too small for the page size.” Trish didn’t see it, but that’s the sort of thing I do for a living. I also realized I’d forgotten to justify the text column, and the margins were too wide. Trish pointed out a typo on the Acknowledgments page, and later that day Julie pointed out a flaw in the version of the cover art I’d submitted to the printer.
They were all tiny things — the sort of things I’d have to point out for you to notice — but among them, they shattered the illusion. They marred the perfect beauty of the thing, and before I knew it, I wasn’t even smiling. It’s remarkable how far I fell for want of a single point in font size.
I didn’t have time to mope, though. I went right back to work on it, fixing typos. I rebuilt my document, fighting font size, and space between lines, and margins, and everything I could to make it look right without changing the page count (which would have required a major rework on the cover art, as the spine got wider).
I also got a fix from Julie for the cover art, and switched the justification and even found room to add an About the Author page. Then I checked back in with Amazon and gave them the new files. I ordered another proof. And then I waited.
One week ago today, last Tuesday, I got home from work and found a package on the counter. I couldn’t find a knife or scissors, even standing in the middle of the kitchen, and when Trish gave me her keys I was so excited I fumbled them a bit before I tore the package open.
Then I slid the book out, and my heart stopped.
It was perfect.
I flipped through it again, expecting to find more little flaws that had slipped through the cracks. I held it up side-by-side with the first proof to compare the cover art changes. I turned to the back and stared at my face staring back at me….
And I fell in love.
I went to my project page on Amazon, the next step in the publication process, and approved the proof copy. Then I got an automatically-generated email from them a little while later with a link to my product page, asking me to review the details and provide feedback. I clicked on it without really thinking…and found myself at Amazon.com.
Really, truly, at Amazon.com. Like this:
I’ve spent the last week making sure my book is available everywhere I can get it. There’s a paperback at Amazon, and an e-Book for the Kindle. There are copies available for the Barnes & Noble Nook, and for the iPad through Smashwords.
And yesterday it finally struck me: in the last two weeks, I’ve become a published author. And not just that! After wrestling with the same heart-breaking conflict for the last fifteen years, I turned myself into the solution to the biggest obstacle in my life. I’ve become a publisher, too.
Gods Tomorrow, on sale everywhere Tuesday, October 12th.
That’s the resolution to the first book in my series. It’s…beautiful.