Reviewing the Printer’s Proofs

One of the wonderful benefits to partnership publishing my novel in the U.S. is that I’m able to choose the printer and sign off on the interior and cover proofs before we go to print. It’s wonderful, but scary, because the buck stops with me! These proofs arrived from Color House Graphics today. Now it’s my job to review them with a fine-toothed comb before we print this week in anticipation of our August 5 paperback pub date!

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Cover proof of The Vintner’s Daughter from CHG

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Text proof of TVD from CHG

Although I adore the french flaps and deckled-edge pages of the Harper Collins Canada edition, to print the same paperback in the U.S. would have been too costly. For my indie-published writer friends who may be choosing their printing options right now, do ask for multiple quantity and shipping quotes from at least three printers–I was shocked by how much the quotes varied! Also, ask for the text and soft cover proofs as part of the quote.

For my U.S. paperback, I chose a 6×9 book (a little larger than the standard 5.5×8.5, to match the size of the Canadian edition), 55# natural paper, 360 PPI, and a matte layflat film lamination on the printed side. The cover stock is 10pt C1S. All pretty standard, and I have to say, the proof has the exact look and feel I want. Yay!

The Knocking at My Door

Since this is my first post about my writing life, I’d better come clean.  My love of writing evolved in a somewhat pathetic, although commonly tragic way.  I ignored my passion for writing for over a decade, but it kept nagging me, like a toddler vying for attention.

It all started with Mrs. Morris, my formidable English teacher at St. Bernard High School in Uncasville, CT.  She was whip-smart, tough as nails, and rarely cracked a smile, but man, did she know her stuff.  “People,” she’d coo sweetly, and let what was to come hang in the air like the silence before you lay your head down on the block, “your twenty-page paper is due Friday.”

This was one of the few assignments that struck terror in the hearts of the AP English crowd.  I feigned horror, but deep down, I was giddy with excitement.  I wrote twenty pages on The Importance of Trees and Stone Walls in American Literature and received an A.  Yet, even better than that A (and Mrs. Morris’ obvious delight over such a, I admit, lame topic), was the sheer exhilaration I felt when I sat down to write.

Soon I was off to college and, not trusting in my ability to parlait my love of writing into a financially flush career, I chose to major in the next vaguest subject I could find: Economics.  Loved the theoretical writing, abhorred the regression analysis.  Before I knew it, I had graduated from Villanova and had a tidy, enviable career at Chase Bank.  Flash to nine years later:  I’m pushing thirty, a retail sales director for a Boston bank, earning a decent living, but I’m completely uninspired.  The only thing that fired me up was sitting down to write marketing memos and copy for our sales contests.  Sad, but invevitably true.

Besides writing, I was inspired by the idea of starting a family with my new husband.  We moved from Boston to Connecticut for his work; I stopped working and was pregnant in, like, a minute.  While vacationing in the Loire Valley in 2000, I was standing in the middle of a Vouvray vineyard and was handed the inspiration for my first historical novel, The Vintner’s Daughter.  I wouldn’t seriously commit to its completion until six years, three writing classes and two kids later (with a third on the way).

Fast forward to May 2012.  The Vintner’s Daughter has been finished for 6 months now, edited, enjoyed by friends, family and a few writing professionals and I’m on the lookout for a literary agent to represent me.  Seriously, they need a “match.com” for finding one.  “Tall, dark, bookish, enjoys Cabernet and stepping out with a smokin’ 325-page historical fiction read.”  That would work.

So far this year, I’ve attended my first writer’s conference, pitched my book, sent out fifteen queries and received just as many rejections. Clearly, I’m still in the early stages of this ego-crushing sport.  If my queries don’t catch someone’s eye soon, I will move to plan b (stay tuned–still formulating that).

If you’re a fledgling writer looking to swap stories from the trenches, stop by this page whenever you’re feeling bummed out and I’m sure you’ll find something to make you laugh (or cry again)!

At this moment, however, I have a groggy three-year old wriggling her way up onto my lap and begging for chocolate milk behind the familiar sucking sounds of her pacifier (no, we haven’t given it up at naptime – mommy needs to blog!)  So, there’s nothing left to do but go enjoy a glass of liquid sunshine with my youngest daughter, Julia.

What’s the dream that’s been knocking at your door?  Tell me about it!