Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Making a Book (Part 2)

It's been a l-o-n-g time since I posted the first part of this little story of how my book came to be. I'm not entirely sure why I never got back to finishing the tale but let's not worry about that.

(Find Part 1 here )

I left off after signing the contract and settling down to write. The wonderful thing about that window of writing in the summer of 2009 was that it was so life-giving. I thought it was going to be lonely because Byron and the kids left me at home in town while they ventured out with groups of visitors and volunteers for a few different stints. They left me behind in the (astonishingly) quiet house for a few little stretches of up to about 10 days at a time and, guess what--it wasn't lonely at all. I fell right into a routine of sitting at my desk every morning and writing for a good portion of the day. I had this orderly little centering exercise of tea and prayer before I launched into my day that helped to soothe my sense of total inadequacy. The inadequacy wasn't so much in regard to the actual writing. The inadequacy came in the face of the subject matter. I was settling down daily to talk about metaphors that might help us build relationship with God. Any shaking in my shoes or trembling of knees under my desk was well founded.

But, I loved it. Honestly, it was an incredible privilege to have focused writing time and, apparently, my joy showed. Byron said he'd never seen me so happy. I don't doubt his word, but I might doubt his memory. The arrival of each of our four children pretty much put me over the moon each time.

My deadline was September the 1st. After the manuscript had been read many times over by me and my very dear friend, Maureen Hurst, my editing was done and I attached the whole file to an email to my publisher. Pushing the SEND button was somewhat surreal. Byron and I celebrated with a bar of Swiss chocolate :-)

Now came the book's actual design. Lion Hudson/Monarch had already told me their plan to make it an attractive gift book, a smallish, full-color hardback with plenty of illustrations. I had originally dreamed of filling it with the artwork of some of my very talented friends, but that wasn't to be. I didn't immediately embrace everything the publisher designed. I argued about wanting a younger look and a more edgy cover. I wasn't even convinced it had a good title. "Approaching God" was a working title I had been using and I wondered if there wasn't a better name for it.

Eventually, I admitted that the publisher had more experience, more knowledge and, yes, more say in these decisions. We came to a happy balance when I began submitting photographs to be used. If there had been more time, I'd have liked to gather all the photos that were used. As it is, some are mine and some belong to my friends, while others were submitted by the designer. While the last category's photos are just fine, they aren't "me." But I'm thankful for the freedom I was given to submit the ones I did and I'm thankful that they used what I submitted. Hats off to you, Monarch, for that! I really appreciated it.

Eight months later, our son, Jesse, arrived from the States carrying my first copy of the book in his backpack. He pulled it out in the living room and I took it in my hands and gave it a long stare. There it was! All done.

Today, thousands of copies have been sold around the world and I've received many, many kind notes from readers who have been touched or helped or encouraged by it. I'm SO thankful I got to write that wee book. It truly was joy for me.

And, just for the record, I think it's time to start writing again :-)

Photo above by DorRae Stevens Photography. Honored to make her bedside table book pile :-)


sue said...

Yes, to continuing the writing! :~)

Alisa Wright said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

amen. get writing mama!!!:-)

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for posting Part 2 Lisa. (I've been patiently waiting for it.) I think the design is unusually beautiful (but then I am now among the 'older' readership I guess) and is a great match for the content. I'm wowwed by the photos, particularly the ones from the names that I recognise, and especially those with an African flavour. The graphics and photos enhance your exquisite words so well.

I'm glad to hear that the book is selling well. I'm soon going to have to re-stock my shelf with them, and everyone I've given them to has been greatly blessed and encouraged. Looking forward to more!

lisa said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. Most people have responded very positively to the design and I'm really happy about that. Initially, I had something else in mind, which I'm not sure I can even put into words, exactly. You know how it is when you picture one thing and then that's not how things turn out? It just took me a little while to catch up to where the publisher was at on this. I really enjoyed thinking of photos (either mine or from friends) to submit. It was a fun process and really amazing to then see it all as a finished, glossy, full-color, hard-back finished product!

Thanks so much for your encouragement and support and for sharing the book with friends :-)

Elizabeth said...

It's pure pleasure Lisa.

Nelly said...

YES YES YES YES YES TIME TO GET TO WRITING AGAIN! ok I'll stop shouting now. love you!