Sunday, April 22, 2012

Birthdays and Books

Another birthday come and gone, and this one marks my official ‘retirement.’ Not that it will make one bit of difference in what I do, aside from collecting a pittance of Social Security. I can make quite a lot more than I currently do off the artistic endeavors before I’d have to give any of it back.

Perhaps the best birthday present – on an otherwise rather uneventful day – was to send the last of the puppies off to its new home. That will simplify life around here. I do have to find a way to schedule a visit to the vet for Tucky. We don’t want to go through that again!

My own birthday present to myself was to go to the Dick Blick site (I’ve been buying art supplies from Blick for over thirty years) and order a good light table. I’ve been lusting for one forever. It will definitely facilitate the creation of ‘real’ drawings, the kind with pen and ink on paper, instead of the mouse-and-computer stuff I’ve been doing lately.

Such as all the art for ‘The Contrary Fairy.’ Not that there is anything wrong with it but it has its limits. As does, admittedly, drawing by hand, so it’s nice to have both options.

* * *

Speaking of the ‘Fairy,’ it is all set up for release in two versions, print and a dedicated PDF ebook format. Now to get them to the printer and complete the cover – at forty pages, I decided to go with saddle-stitch rather than perfect bound and do not have any spine-width to take into account. For early readers, I think a flat-lying stapled book is easier to handle than one with a spine, as well as more durable.

I did work up an EPUB version of the book but will not release it commercially. Little kids aren’t likely to be using an e-reader so why waste an ISBN? The pictures do not look very good this way either. I may give it away privately to generate some interest, the way one gives away low resolution mp3s as a sampler of ones music.

A PDF for the computer screen is another matter, as the pictures display full-sized and properly placed. I wouldn’t be selling that anywhere but Lulu or my own site so an ISBN is unneeded. It is largely the same as the PDF I worked up for printing, anyway, except with a color cover page added and a bit of compression on the images to keep the file size manageable.

So I may end up moving my ‘official’ release date up a bit (May 1?), even if it means less time for pre-release publicity. That doesn’t mean much with the internet approach to publishing, anyway, and the sooner I have product available, the better.

* * *

I expect my sister Jeanne and her daughter Mary (Mean Mary James) to stop by on Wednesday on their way to Mary’s Florida gigs this coming weekend. Only a few minutes, most likely. Busy people!

If you get the chance, get out to see Mary sometime. All you Tallahasseeans, catch her at the Mockingbird Cafe this Friday, April 27. By the way, they have her website address wrong at the Mockingbird site.

Jean and Mary are hard at work getting their next book(s) ready for publication. I have not been able to convert them to the POD concept so they’re going the more traditional printing route. Their first novel, Sparrow Alone on the Housetop, was released by a small publisher, but the next one should be a self-published devotional with Mary’s brother, Frank, as a co-author. More novels in the pipeline after that.

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