Ho Ho Hum

Don’t mind me. And of course, I don’t have to tell you that, all you bloggers who are NOT reading blogs or writing to yours today, immersed as you are in family events of the holiday. I, however, am alone and entertaining myself–watching the fog roll down off the ridges, occasionally tormenting the dog, snacking on sugary or fat-sat munchies to wile away the hours til the first wave of company rolls in after dark. Ann left for work a bit ago, won’t be home til midnight.

Not that I have not been busy this past week–hence, some gaps in the regular posting to Fragments–but those tales have only been the kind of thing to blog on a day when nobody is listening–for my ears only, mostly–like today. And hey, it’s my blog, so here’s what’s happening on Goose Creek.

On Saturday, the proof copy of Slow Road Home was delivered–a day late, not overnight by UPS as promised, but over two nights: “item missed at destination” it said on the tracking page. Somebody in Roanoke was asleep at the wheel. And I must tell you, it was with some dread I upboxed the book and took my first look on Saturday afternoon.

Suffice it to say, at first glance, I was relieved. The only option for the laminate was glossy, not mat like the first edition. I had feared it would look like plastic. In fact the colors and edges are sharper and brighter that the original (in addition to the fact that I upped the saturation a bit before submitting the cover file.) I also eliminated the background color from the spine, and so now the text (title, name and publisher) is simply laid down over the cover image that spills nicely without a break from front to back–much more contiguous a scene than before. Downside: the cover stock is not as heavy, and I think maybe a little less durable to wear than the offset-printed book from Edwards Brothers.

Internally, the Table of Contents I think is a good plus for the second edition. I made some changes there after seeing it for the first time in the Lightning Source copy. The interior black and white image quality was another place I dreaded to see in the revised version, but they actually are little different from the offset half-tone versions, and I’m pleased.

However, the subheadings for each little piece that originally were gray (60% black) just for detail came out looking thin and rasterized, so I converted them to 100% black. I’ll have to send in a revised text file now, but that’s all ready to go on Tuesday, and the book should be completed and ready to have its presence made known to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and such by the first of the year–which was my target date! (and Google Books? I rankle at having them scan the book and parse it out to customers. To be decided–next week.)

Busy year? You bet. This time last year, I hadn’t even started compiling the book from the Fragments posts that formed the basis for the book. I didn’t have a clear idea of where I wanted it to go with it, organization-wise, and had no idea how I would create it other than to start out in Word (but ultimately purchased Adobe Creative Suites through my now-expired status as adjunct faculty at Radford U.)

I had little certainty then that I would persevere to complete it and actually ever have it in my hands. This in the end came to reality on April 27 when 24 cartons of 48 books were deposited in our driveway. I did know that, for the first run, I wanted to “do it by hand”, which I have done. Every copy sold to date has been signed. Now I’m ready for step two: making the process run itself via digital printing and order fulfillment while I move on to other things (while still doing book events, drop-shipping to individuals, and keeping some degree of direct personal involvement.)

About future endeavors: more to come!

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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