About That Sentence…

Last Saturday’s post probably needs some explaining. I’ve never posted just a drawing here before without any words to go with it. My usual routine is to get a drawing set up for posting and then to add the text the next morning before the “schedule” time arrives. But obviously that didn’t happen last weekend! I headed off to the grocery store without even remembering to add one word of text to go with the title and drawing!

So today, I’ll explain how that one sentence held up an entire book the way I had planned to do last Saturday.

I like using Barnes & Noble Press. It’s a nice website and easier for me to use than Amazon’s KDP. (That’s just me though.) Before I uploaded what I thought was the final version with all of my edits, I was reading through the online proof and realized I needed to add that sentence.

“Suddenly Pearl was glad to be exactly who she was.”

I had felt before that the story needed that sentence but was unsure where to put it. When I found a “just right” place for that sentence, I quickly typed it in and started all of my uploading to Barnes & Nobles Press.

So the next day while waiting for my files to be reviewed and confirmed, I read through the proof that I had received and found that I had added that sentence much too quickly with a huge typing error.

I had to wait for Barnes & Noble to review and confirm my files before I could upload a correction. For days and days, I would check but the files hadn’t been confirmed so that I could move ahead with correcting that huge error.

But there is a problem with their system. It’s been going on for days and days now, maybe for weeks. It’s like everything is “stuck.” I can’t upload new files. I can’t delete the book and start again.

The B&N Press Team provides regular updates and apologies, and I do appreciate them working on the problem. Please understand I’m not grumbling or complaining. I’m just saying to everyone, “Double check, triple check, quadruple check before you click any ‘submit’ or ‘approve’ button!”

Another lesson learned!

So what was the “right place” for that sentence? It was not at the end even though the end of the story is a happy one. (After all, it is a story about Christmas!) It just did not feel correct for Pearl’s gladness to be exactly who she is after receiving a gift. Instead, She feels gladness to be exactly who she is before giving a gift. It is when she realizes she is the only one who can give a particular gift.

That just seems to be the best way to look at things. We are all different and exactly who we are because of what we can give, not because of what we can get.

Four Perfect Words To Begin Any Beloved Book

What was missing from the paperback copy of my new book? What are the four perfect words to begin any beloved book?

Those four perfect words are not “Once upon a time.” For me, those four perfect words are “This book belongs to.”

When I look through all of my old books saved from childhood, the ones that I treasured most always had a special spot for me to write my name. And you can tell that “Woody Woodpecker Drawing Fun for Beginners” was especially treasured because I not only wrote my name, I wrote a whole sentence. “It is John Roy’s Book.” (Roy is my grandfather’s first name and my middle name. He was the best ever to me.)

“This book belongs to” are the most perfectly magical wonderful words to begin a book. And I had overlooked them. When I realized this, I knew I had to include them, and so I designed and drew what you see on the right for “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.”

I hope it has all of the optimistic joy that I had back then when I took my own “Woody Woodpecker Drawing Fun for Beginners” book home. It shows Pearl at her best, sweet and wonderful, looking up and looking forward, optimistic and persistent, small in stature, but big in heart.

And of course, if a book is going to start with those four perfect words, then what comes next just naturally has to match. The rest of the book is being redesigned so that hopefully the visual elements match the story elements.

You will notice that the font for “This book belongs to” is a little different. It is a hand drawn font named Quimbly designed by Magpie Paper Works. I purchased it from fontspring.com because it matches so well with hand drawn illustrations.

I was able to confirm late yesterday that the license which came with it allows me to use it in PDF for print documents (not eBook documents), and so I will be using it as my font for the print version. That was exciting! I think it will add a great deal to the overall appearance of the book.

Here is a rough draft mockup of a page spread with this font. I decided to give each chapter a different gift wrap border rather than being all the same as you may have seen with the online version I shared a few weeks ago for test readers. This also reflects Pearl’s love for collecting pretty things like gift wrap that most other people would consider trash.

“This book belongs to:”…Those words may mean different things to different people, but to me, they still mean “This book resonates with my heart and who I am or who I hope to be.”

For our Facebook fans, we still have a free coloring page that you can download and print. Just go to our “My Life With Gracie” Facebook page and click the link there. It’s pinned to the top to make it easier to find. The coloring page will open in Dropbox, but you do not need a Dropbox account!

P.S. It is okay to print and color even if you are a grown-up!