Behind the scenes of ‘Book of Blank’ production wrap-up

The clock is ticking this week as production wraps up for “Sarah & Katy and the Book of Blank.” Here’s a look at what’s on the table this week:

Book Production

Last-minute edits are still taking place — I’m pushing up against deadline this year. Whereas last year I had the luxury of a couple of weeks of cushion, this year I’m racing against the clock. The reason is largely because last year, I didn’t plan to share the book until Christmas. This year, I’ve scheduled a few pre-release events in November, which means I need to have books in hand within the next three weeks. (Gulp.)

The big item on the checklist this week was sending the covers to prepress to make sure everything checks out. Covers need extra time for review to make sure no vital information is too close to edge and at risk of getting trimmed, as well as to make sure colors produce well, the bar code is in the proper location, and the spine is the right width.

The cover was submitted to the press Wednesday, so there’s a sigh of relief to be had there.

But the week isn’t over. Final tweaks to text still need to be made. (I am woefully late on doing these final edits of typos, missing words, etc.) Even though my instinct is to hurry up and get them done, I have to stay focused and thorough — I’d rather push back the release date than publish a sloppy book by the original deadline.

After that, the only task is to place the 10 interior illustrations from illustrator extraordinaire Hannah Jones. Then I’ll print proofs, do one last read-through for missed spelling or punctuation errors, and send it to press.

The goal is to finish everything by Saturday. Then it’s time to cross my fingers and hope production/shipping timetables work out to have books in hand by the week of Nov. 16.

Marketing

BookmarksBook of Blank’s listing on Goodreads went live this week. (Check it out here.) A Goodreads giveaway is coming in the near future — once shipping timetables are firmer and I can guarantee I’ll have books in stock, I’ll set up the giveaway.

I also ordered another round of bookmarks to hand out at book signings. This is good timing to get a fresh stack of bookmarks — the Imagination Blanket bookmarks have nearly run out.

About two weeks before the book’s release, I’ll be reaching out to local media with press releases and an announcement about the book launch party (more on that below).

This year I’ve considered enlisting the services of a blog tour as well. For those unfamiliar with the phrase, a blog tour is comprised of multiple bloggers hosting interviews, book reviews, or guest/promotional posts to share a new book release with their followers.

Pre-Release Book Launch Party

BlanketPlanning for a book launch party on Nov. 21 (three days before the official Nov. 24 release date) is in the works. I am partnering with Prairie Creek Public Library to host a pre-release event open to the public, which will have copies of the new book available for $10, as well as “Sarah & Katy and the Imagination Blankets” on sale for $5.

To add some fun to the event, I’m also collecting items for a raffle basket that will include signed copies of both Sarah & Katy books, an imagination blanket (shown at left), and a few other as-yet-t0-be-determined items. One idea is to order customized notebooks featuring the Book of Blank cover on them — that way the winner will their own “book of blank” to fill with a story of their own making.

One of the toughest parts of independent publishing is sticking to a budget. There are dozens of gifts I’d love to include in a raffle basket, but I have to keep a leash on my enthusiasm to make sure I’m not spending more than I’m earning on book sales.

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