The Evolution of the Book (or at least mine)

Listening to: Paperback Writer

Okay, that’s a lie. I’m actually listening to: Gwen Stefani, What You Waiting For? Gwen Stefani - Love, Angel, Music, Baby - What You Waiting For?Yes, she’s missing an important part of the verb structure, but she’s Gwen. She can do what she wants.

Friday night and I’m supposed to be doing my book club reading. There’s a toasty fire in the grate — probably the last one of the season. Really the perfect environment to kick back and have a nice read. But it’s just not going to happen tonight. Can’t make the brain go there. So I figured I’d work on a blog post I’ve been meaning to put up and haven’t had the time.

I think in most cases it’s a long, long, long journey for a writer from that first idea for a book to the moment when you hold the printed volume in your hand. After finally holding my own book for the first time last month in Florida, I was struck by how many different incarnations the words that became Miles To Go have gone through. And I thought an account of its evolution through photographs would be fun. To be thorough I suppose I should start here:

Nascent book inside of head

Eventually the story began to scratch and scrabble to get out of my brain and I made myself write some of those thoughts down on paper. This image is NOT the very first bit of text I wrote for M2G since what I first wrote was, well, really bad. Wince and cringe bad. So, I’ll spare you the wincing and cringing. This image is what became the beginning of the book and is mostly unchanged from the final:

Prologue Miles To Go

I had a lot of friends who were willing to read the first draft that was actually readable and coherent. To make it a more pleasurable reading experience for them, I had copies of the draft coil bound at Kinko’s with a simple card stock cover. After that, whenever I had subsequent drafts I would do it for myself since it didn’t cost much and it was a lot easier to deal with. Here’s a look at earlier drafts:

Book 3

Seeing the printed copy at last was odd. For one, it was really small compared to my unwieldy and heavy draft copies. Really small. I couldn’t imagine that 75,000 words didn’t amount to more pages. But there it was with my name on the cover. Then it occurred to me that it might actually be in bookstores, real brick and mortar bookstores. For some reason the Border’s in Columbia, Maryland was the first to show my book in stock in the DC area. So I trekked up there to take a peek. And there I was, edging up close and snug to Radclyffe. Hope she doesn’t mind.

Border's Columbia Miles to Go

Then I realized I could get my book on my kindle and thought, Why not?

Book 2

What’s next? Maybe you’ll be able to download it directly into your brain. And then we’ll have come full circle.

Nascent book inside of head

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