Hello, my friends! This post includes parts from the latest update for my Kickstarter backers.
I’ve been so busy finishing up book production, that by the time the galleys were out (on February 14, as promised), I nearly passed out with exhaustion. The good news: advance reading copies are here and Inga Belova will soon be part of your household (so to speak).
Let me tell you this story in pictures:
1. Book production consists of two key parts: cover design and interior (pages) design (after the manuscript has been edited, proofread, and proofread, and proofread). The front cover was designed by TM/R, the back cover and interior pages by Yelena Ebel.
Covers and spine, final proof for Advance Reading Copy (ARC)
2. Picking the fonts. I have chosen the font that was used by Simon Van Booy for his latest novel, The Illusion of Separateness. When I saw the first page designed, I loved the look, but when I printed it, I realized the font was too small (see below), and I wanted wider page margins, so that the book “breathed” better and was easier to read. We increased the font to 12 points, and widened the margins. With that, the book went from 250 to 340 pages.
3. Final review. While the book covers were being designed, I read and re-read the manuscript until I almost went blind (again, this was AFTER the book has been edited and proofread by the editorial team), first in a PDF format, later on paper (what’s called pass pages). We had to tweak quite a few things. For instance, at some point I realized that there were too many word breaks. We went through the whole designed manuscript and tweaked dozen of instances.
4. Printing the galleys. I chose McNally Jackson bookstore to print the galleys on their Espresso Book Machine, for two reasons: they are located in SoHo (I wanted to come over and review the proof in person), and I was hoping that giving them business would make it easier for me to score a reading with them. Well, their prices are outrageous ($17 to print one book of this size – usually it’s around $8), and nobody replied to my reading inquiry. However, the book looks great (I changed the paper for the cover from matte to satin, as the colors didn’t look right on matte), especially when placed on a shelf with New and Noteworthy Fiction, and I scored a reading at another book store, of which more below.
I brought the galleys home…
and still can’t believe that I can hold MY OWN BOOK in my hands! When people ask me how it feels, I say “surreal.”
5. Fulfilling the rewards. Some of you have already received the printed book, others will do within two weeks. Ebooks will be sent over in mid-March, i.e. two months before publication, as promised. When you do receive your book, please post it on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. – it’s an immense help in generating the buzz!
- I have created the sites, ladno.com and vicamiller.com, for Ladno Books and for my author site, and they will soon be developed into real web entities that they should be. All backer names will appear on vicamiller.com.
- The book has been registered with Bowker.com (the main book database), the paperback ISBN – 978-0-9913834-0-5 – is active, which means that Inga’s Zigzags can already be pre-ordered by book stores, libraries and organizations.
- I’ll be creating a Kindle version, and setting up the Amazon page in the next couple of weeks. It will become available for pre-order then. So exciting!
- I have arranged a series of readings, and shall be appearing at a number of venues in May and June, including Book Culture (where the book launch will take place on pub day 14.05.14), my own Russia! Salon (with Boris Fishman, Lara Vapnyar and Alina Simone), Generation R at JCC Manhattan (with Vicky Kuperman) and Coney Island Museum, for Brooklyn launch (thank you, Fred Kahl, for helping with this opportunity). For a complete list of readings, including those in the fall, please go to Ladno Events page.
- Inga’s Ball will take place on Tuesday, June 3, 2014 (for backers at $100+ levels), and will be an extravaganza of burlesque, reading, opera singing, video projections, and dancing, with Gay Pride Parade flair, emceed by the phenomenal Shelly Watson.
6. Publicity. Ah, what would we do without publicity? As is well known, the best publicity for any book is word of mouth. I rely on yours! The early readers had this to say about my novel, “fascinating read”, “impossible to put down”, “I love your book.” Music to my ears. To increase the good buzz, I plan the following:
- Make a Kindle version of Inga’s Zigzags available for free to Amazon Prime users for the first two months
- Solicit as many reader reviews as possible. That includes you!
- Give the book for free to libraries. Yes, you won’t believe it, but often libraries don’t have the funds to buy books! Since I am my own boss here, libraries won’t have to pay for my book.
- Have a series of author interviews and book reviews. The novel is out with a number of lit and lifestyle magazines (and Kirkus Reviews!), so I’ll keep you posted.
- One interview already took place – on parenting and writing. Please take a look at Cari Luna’s wonderful blog to read it. Here is the pict that goes with it.
For a complete list of press sightings, please see ladno.com/press
7. Lessons Learned. This has been a fascinating ride, albeit the one that felt like a roller coaster at times.
- I have learned who my true friends are, and who could care less about me succeeding.
- I learned that some people/organizations are so stiff that it’s better to stay away from them (McNally Jackson, Powerhouse Arena), while others are enthusiastic, supportive and down to Earth (Book Culture, Pen Parentis, Lit at Lark, the publisher of Riverhead Books).
- I have learned so much about the business of publishing that I feel truly confident about running my own indie publishing house, Ladno Books.
Book Culture on Broadway & 112th, where book launch will take place on May 14, 2014
It feels very empowering to be able to do what you want to do, the way you want to do it, while helping others. By that, I mean that
- percentage of all Inga’s Zigzags sales will go to support LGBTQ rights in Russia;
- the next Ladno Books title will be On Loving, an anthology of short stories and essays by women writers, exploring all kinds of love, from forbidden and kinky to platonic and romantic. I’m thinking of the kind and caliber of writing that would have been banned, like Nabokov’s Lolita was, until someone brave published it overseas. I choose to be that brave person, and do it right here, in the U.S.
Thank you for your support, my dear friend. You made my dream come true.
Here is to making lemonade out of lemons!