I figured I would update y’all on what’s going on with the book, since I haven’t mentioned it since my announcement in December, and stuff has been happening!
Here’s the latest:
1) The professional editing is done; I’m still going over it to check for last-minute errors, so the text is not final yet.
2) I am almost done formatting the print book, which has been soooo much more fun than I thought it would be! Here’s a sneak peak of two sample pages I printed, cut out, and stuck in my beloved copy of Brené Brown’s “Rising Strong,” which is almost exactly the same size that LtJ will be:
3) I am also recording the audiobook! And taking advantage of the opportunity to go over the manuscript again to try and catch errors the editor may have missed. That is seriously fun too! (Wanna get a sneak preview of the *cough* melodious sound of my voice reading a letter to Josep? Check out the Jewish Geography Podcast here; I appear in several of them!)
4) It was determined that the book needed a subtitle, and I have settled on: Letters to Josep: An Introduction to Judaism. I’m not really a fan of subtitles myself, but I want someone looking at the book to at least have some idea what it’s about, and someone searching for a beginner’s guide to Judaism to be able to find it. Titles are one of the things I struggle with most as a writer, and I’m embarrassed to tell you what an extensive brainstorming process took place before coming up with this super-obvious, simple, straightforward subtitle. (“The Non-Disputation of Barcelona1” and “Judaism for Religiously Confused People of Iberian Descent” were some of the sillier suggestions. 😛 )
4) I have designed the front cover/Kindle cover, and am still working on the back cover and spine for the print book. Ladies and gentlemen, the Kindle cover:
I made the original concept for the design with Canva (and a little help from Pixlr to remove the backgrounds on the stamps), but there was no way around moving to Photoshop at the end. Photoshop is way less dummy-friendly than Canva is and there was much hair pulling and crying out in despair before I finally got the design as I want it. But I’m very happy with it and extend my sincere gratitude to my poor patient husband (who is more experienced with Photoshop than I am and showed me how to do some things) and to the graphic design ladies on a FB group for creative people who made suggestions for fine-tuning it.
I have to say, this part of the process showed me the biggest appeal of independent publishing: getting the opportunity to do this stuff myself… and express some of my other talents and skills!
What remains to be done:
1) Finalize the text (which I will hopefully do once I’m finished recording the audiobook, and when Josep gets back to me on a little detail) (Yes, Josep, that is a hint!)
2) Finish recording, editing, and mastering the audiobook
3) Purchase ISBNs (which I’ll probably do through the Israeli authority, because the American one is ridiculously expensive and the resellers offering ones at much lower prices seem shady to me) and sort out some tax-related issues
4) Format and convert the eBook
5) Finish formatting the print book
6) Upload everything to the relevant websites, and order a sample copy to make sure the formatting is right
7) RELEASE MY BOOK TO THE KNOWLEDGE-HUNGRY HORDES
I cannot begin to describe to you how excited I am!!!
I’m estimating that the book will be ready by the end of next month, and probably in April, I’ll be “soft launching” it, releasing it on Amazon, gathering a few reviews and giving people a chance to catch any errors I may have missed before expanding to other distributors and getting more serious about promotion.
The one thing I could really use your help with right about now is gathering quotes from public figures in praise of the book/the letters.
These are those quotes that go on the back of the book and/or in the front, or in the book description on Amazon, by people whose opinion people care about.
My greatest fantasy would be something from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, but… yeah. He’s a superstar and I’m sure he has no time for things like this. I did send a request to his office, and got the auto-response I expected, which went something along the lines of, “Thank you for being in touch! Due to the volume of correspondence we receive, we will never get back to you ever.”
I have to say that this task combines all the things that are most difficult for me about promotion: not only tooting my own horn, but asking other people to toot my horn. Ugh. Not to mention the possibility that said people may not actually like what I have to offer. I’m opening myself up to a whole world of criticism and rejection here. :-/
So….. if you happen to have any connection with a public figure who may be relevant–a rabbi involved in outreach, a priest involved in interfaith dialogue, etc.–I would be so grateful if you could drop him or her a line to ask for an endorsement for me. Here’s an example of what you could say:
Dear [Adored Public Figure],
I’ve been following this blog that I’ve been really enjoying and I think is very relevant to your work. The author is going to be publishing a book in a couple months, and I think a quote from you in praise of her work would mean the world to her. She’d be happy to send you the whole manuscript if you’d like to see it, but even if you just read a couple of her posts and write even a few words on what you like about them, that would be really helpful. Here are three blog posts I think you’d particularly enjoy:
[insert links and titles here of posts you think they might like. A few suggestions: Shabbat: A Sacred Space in Time; Blessings: Finding God in an Apple; Prayer. Pt. I; The Battleground of Good and Evil; Days of Awe; I Forgave God]
If you do this for me I will love you forever. And if I get a good quote out of it, I’m sending you a free eBook & a personalized, signed bookplate that you can stick in your print copy, or frame, or whatever you like. Deal?
Again, thank you all for your help and support, you are awesome! I will keep you posted!
1. The Disputation of Barcelona. It was a thing. A dispute between Nahmanides (a.k.a. the Ramban, famous biblical commentator) and Dominican Friar Pablo Cristiani, in the 13th century. Here’s Wikipedia on it. ↩