The last proofread…

It’s exciting to do the final proofread on a book before it officially goes to press, but also a little scary. What if I miss something? What if it’s something big? Kira asked me to look especially closely at the many excerpts from primary documents to check them for accuracy, since she and her staff don’t have easy access to those. Thank goodness I had filed the hundreds of pages of photocopies-from-microfilm of the 1855 newspapers I used. They were in roughly chronological order, so that made it easier, too.

I had a little fun with the cover art and book title page art as I uploaded them into a template for postcards and bookmarks. I’ll send out postcards to librarians, independent bookstores, and some historical sites that might be interested in selling the books in their gift shops. I’ll also use them to generate some interest for school and library visits, and maybe some other personal appearances. I’ll order lots of bookmarks to give out at school visits and other events.

I still need to add more information to this website, such as contact information and info about personal appearances. [How does a writer know what to charge for personal appearances?] I also plan to add some teacher resources such as discussion questions and maybe even a poetry unit.

I’ve been doing some thinking about my book launch party. I had hoped to have it at the Steamboat Arabia museum, but I think that will be just too expensive for me. Now my best options seem to be (1) a local bookstore like Reading Reptile [A delightful place, by the way], (2) on the Park University campus [It has wonderful historical ambiance, and the campus bookstore would handle book sales], or maybe (3) the historic train depot in Parkville [right across from the campus]. At least with option #2 I’d be close to home, the venue would be free of charge to use, and I’d be able to arrange for food and drinks myself. The only possible negative is our distance from the main part of Kansas City. But having it on campus would probably mean better attendance from our friends and neighbors who live in this area, as well as faculty, staff, and students from Park. So many things to consider.

Meanwhile, I’m now less than two weeks from the St. Louis Rock n Roll Marathon. I almost feel like I’m in training for two events at once.


A real book…and a trailer!

October 4, 2011

I received a message from editor Kira Lynn today. She was asking me to proofread the final version before it goes to press–especially the excerpts quoted from primary documents, since she doesn’t have access to those. No problem, really, since I have hard copies of all of those. I opened the PDF, looking forward to seeing the book laid out and found….


Wowsers! I love it! I’ll post it here when I have a jpeg version. I clicked through a few pages of the book and discovered the beautiful job they did with the text and visual motif. The chapter headers (all primary documents) are printed on special pages that look like old paper. Lucy’s poems and letters are set in script font that looks like handwriting. It’s all really quite lovely.

Tonight I had a great phone conversation with Ken Spurgeon of Lone Chimney Films. Ken’s film company does dramatic films based on events in Kansas history. I met him at the Kansas Sampler festival last spring and asked if he might be willing to do a book trailer. Tonight we brainstormed some ideas (we were both thinking along the same lines already), and Ken is as excited about the project as I am. Ken also knows some musicians who play music from the 1850s era, and I’m hoping to see about uploading some music to the website.

Suddenly, it feels like things are moving very quickly!