Thursday, April 23, 2009

Catching Up

Dear Friends:

It's been a crazy month since I last wrote on the blog. So much has happened! First, the book -- I cannot begin to say how excited I am about the book. It took forever to finish the back matter -- the Index, Glossary (that was really a bear because I did it for the printed book and the eBook which meant finding good websites to send readers to for more information) and the Bibliography. Since I made such an extensive Glossary, the Bibliography had to be extensive, too. I'm so happy it's done, although I know most people don't bother reading the front or back matter of the book.

Review copies have been printed and mailed or emailed to almost 20 reviewers. I've already received some of the Advanced Reader surveys and I'm delighted to see that people really like the book, but more importantly, they find it valuable. I knew that fathers had a valuable and unique story to share, but it's good to hear from others that they regarded the essays special, too.

I'm still waiting on more Advanced Reader Surveys in order to complete the back cover of the book. Otherwise, the only 2 things I need to completely finish the book are my Catatogue-in-Print information and the Colophon. I've never had a Colophon in a book before, but I wish I had! If I had put that in the back of The Heart of a Mother, I wouldn't be trying to remember exactly what quality of paper I had used, what fonts I had used, etc. like I am now. It doesn't look like it's going to be possible for me to make The Heart of a Father look quite like The Heart of a Mother. Now I'm seeing there are certain obstacles that are making the last decision I have to make even more difficult.

When I printed The Heart of a Mother I wanted it to be keepsake quality. I chose a special Japanese paper that would not turn yellow over time and that would display the photos in the book optimally. I chose to have the book scored -- you can see an indentation all the way down the book so that the covers don't curl up with the heat (really important since I live in Texas!) and so it lays flat. I've decided this time around to be a more "green" publisher. Instead of printing 5000 copies of the book, I am only doing a short run of about 1000 books and then making it available via Print-on-Demand. Print-on-Demand printing is "green" but it's not fine printing like off-set printing is and doesn't seem to offer quite as many niceties.

Then there's the price to consider. When you print 5000 books, the price per book is much less than when you print 1000 even if you have nicer paper and binding techniques. So how do I be "green" and reduce the amount of stock to carry while still having the quality of book people have come to associate with Baby Hearts Press? That's the dilemma I find myself facing right now.

But more than that, I would like to make my books more available than they are right now. Right now I'm only on and some other online bookstores and selling books through my website. I'm afraid it's time to go back to Ingram so that my books can be available to bookstores. My experience with Ingram in the past was less than ideal and I'm hesitant to jump into a relationship with them, yet Lightning Source seems like a good option for the printing of the books.

I'm really impressed with what I've seen about BookMasters and last night my dad sent me a link to a publishing company I've never heard of before called Outskirts Press. Their website is interesting. I like the fact that they (really all 3 of the aforementioned companies) allow you (the author, or in my case, the editor) to retain all rights to the work. I also like the fact that I can use my own ISBN instead of having to use theirs (which is not the case with so many other companies out there). And it looks like Outskirts Press helps with marketing -- which is my greatest weakness. But I've really taken steps to work on that by having my dad come on board as Vice President of PR and by hiring a publicist. So I am hopeful we will be able to successfully launch The Heart of a Father to great fanfare. :-)

Other news:

Alexander's robotics team, the X-Bots, were invited to attend the FIRST LEGO League World Festival in Atlanta, Georgia! Last week our team was in the Georgia Dome and the Georgia World Congress Center. Opening Ceremonies were in Centennial Park. It was an amazing experience and quite humbling. There were teams from 27 countries and most states were also represented. In all, there were 84 teams from around the world at the competition.

Joey's One-Act Play (Anna Karenina) continues to advance. Tomorrow he will be at Baylor University for the Regional UIL competition. It's been exciting to watch his play over time. It gets better and better as people help to improve the play.

That's all for now!

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