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A 12-Year Unfolding Part II (The Wait is Over!)   

Posted by Alexandra - Dec 13, 2013 - 11:53pm
In the fall of 2011, I loaded up the cat and some meager belongings and drove west again—this time, making Oregon my new home.

The first few months were rocky, to say the least, hunting for jobs and trying to get on my feet. There was little time and no money to move forward with Just Wait or even my new novel-in-progress.

In between temp jobs and permanent jobs (working way too many hours) and moving to different dwellings, I continued to polish the manuscript and update my main character so that she exhibited the behavior and sensibilities of a 30 year-old in 2013 instead of 1999.

I called up my niece (who paints the most incredible portraits) and asked her if she had time—in her busy schedule of being an ICU nurse and a mom—to paint the image I had in mind for my book cover. She not only had time, but she insisted on doing it for free.


In late summer, 2013, I finally landed my ideal writing/editing job. With a steady income again, I was able to formulate an earnest publishing plan for Just Wait.

That was when providence took over and doors began to fly open.

First, I discovered the Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA). I went to their monthly meeting and it felt like I’d hit the jackpot in a casino. Here were all these creative, experienced, helpful and marketing-savvy writers who were also making a go of independent publishing. They offered a wealth of advice about presses, the success of eBooks, what sort of cover gets you the most readers and how to best market yourself. Being a member of this association meant getting lots of help doing book events, author readings and trade shows—as a recognized group. They even developed a seal you could be awarded for your book—based on a rubric of criteria and a panel of third party reviewers—to let readers know that your book is bookstore-quality. I had found my people. Now I would no longer have to go it alone in the most difficult phase of the writing industry – the business phase.

NIWA also alerted me to the fact that Amazon’s CreateSpace was a publishing source that was free if you did your own book interior and cover. No expensive setup fees like the other publisher I’d used. Free was exactly what I needed at that point, still getting back on my feet from a summer of unemployment.


On the marketing side of things, the big inspiration that came to me for my official book launch was a YouTube video that would hopefully get passed around to friends of friends of friends, and also by people who visited my author page on Facebook. In the video, I would feature people talking about something they are still waiting for in life. And what better song to use in the video than “Waiting” by the Irish group The Devlins (first heard on RP). So I sent an email to their website and the next day I got a reply back from Colin Devlin himself giving me sync permission. He wrote, “I’m assuming this is self-published, right? I wish you all the best with your project!”
Oh my Got!!!

With the city of Portland as my setting (a city very much in the limelight due to several TV shows filmed there), I interviewed random people, friends and acquaintances of all ages for a wide variety of responses. I made a big sign saying: “Want to be in a PDX YouTube video about waiting?” and planted myself by a fountain at the Saturday Market by the river. Thus far, I’d only been able to interview people over 35, when my target audience was supposed to be younger, unmarried people who were still looking for their niche in life. As I sat there watching people pass by, I silently said to the universe, “Universe, send me a group of young men in their early 20s, who are globally-minded and cultural like my nephew Paul and his friends. Maybe they’ll even have skateboards.” Within the next 15 minutes, three young men in their early 20s (two with skateboards, one with bongos) happened by and wanted to know more about the video. One of them even looked like my nephew’s friend! Two of them did an interview.

WOW!!  {#Bounce}

After a long and enjoyable afternoon talking to people, I packed up my stuff and headed for Pioneer Square. I was getting hungry and a little chilled (I had a sore throat and cold coming on, but decided to venture out anyway), so I decided to give it about 20 minutes before heading for home. I told the universe, “Universe, I still need young women in this video. My main character is a 29-year-old woman—so I really need someone like her in this video more than anyone else.” Three young women had been meandering around taking pictures with their youngish looking mother. I lost track of them just before deciding to call it a day. Then as I stood gathering my things, the group of girls and their mom came up to me out of nowhere. “What’s this all about?” the mom asked with a smile. When I told them, two of the girls decided to interview—at their mother’s urging!


So the video came together beautifully. I even got one of my nieces, who was nine months pregnant at the time, to send a photo of herself (when she is normally an introverted, anti-spotlight kind of girl) so that I could show someone waiting for a baby to come.


Around this time, my niece had finally completed her painting and sent me an image of the finished product. Immediately, there were ob-stackles (ever since seeing O Brother Where Art Thou, I can’t pronounce the word any other way). The painting was square and needed to fill a 6 x 9 cover. Also, the best-resolution original was shot at an angle that was presenting problems. Fortunately for me, I have lots of Photoshop-savvy friends and acquaintances. One of them, a mega-talented photographer, knew how to fix the problem and graciously offered to help. He not only corrected the angle, but he created a reflection at the bottom that extended the art to fit specs.

Then the long and tedious final leg of the journey was upon me. The final proofing. I was still finding klunky parts. I was still finding extra spaces and indents. There were still ways to make certain scenes flow better. And to top it all off, my sister in Hawaii—who offered her “second pair of eyes” for final proofing and beta reading—brought up something that was going to be very time consuming. Commas. These days, writers are taking liberties. They are no longer adhering to the very precise and old-school methods of comma usage for various phrases. They are leaving several out, probably much to the horror of grammar Nazis. She told me my precise usage was creating a very stilted, disruptive flow in my manuscript.


So I spent the week before and during Thanksgiving going through the manuscript with an even finer-toothed comb, making sure my comma removals worked and sounded okay. Hell, if Cormac McCarthy can write dialogue with no quotation marks, then surely I could get away with removing a few commas.

Finally, there was one more ob-stackle to clear. I had planned on using one of CreateSpace’s back cover templates, but none looked very professional. In fact, they were CRAP! Once again, I desperately needed the services of a designer. Another online friend came to my rescue in the 11th hour!


And then…..

After twelve years, myriads of edits, bleary-eyed late nights of proofing to make the Christmas deadline and a dream team of people (including yet another niece who put my website back together) who brought it all together in the final month……it was FINALLY go-time.

That’s what I get for titling a book Just Wait.  
So now, without further adieu............
(some people were reporting this as blocked today - so I uploaded it again and disputed the copyright thing with YouTube letting them know - AGAIN - that I had permission to use the song)

Details for gettin' the book....

Kindle info (not yet on the links)

11 comments on this journal entry.
Living with passion
Alexandra Avatar

Location: PNW

Posted: Dec 21, 2013 - 8:31am

Oh Lynne...thank you so much for all your encouragement, and for reading!
Still here somewhere....
onlylynne Avatar

Location: On a bluff near the Missouri River

Posted: Dec 20, 2013 - 11:33pm

I was so happy to get my copy today. A full week ahead of the projected delivery date.
I am really looking forward to some time to sit and read it.
Alexandra, you are awesome!
Living with passion
Alexandra Avatar

Location: PNW

Posted: Dec 17, 2013 - 6:32am

Thanks, everyone.
 As always...please feel free to share this video and info with anyone you know who you feel will resonate with it. There's a good (and hopefully inspirational) message in the book for those who have grown disillusioned with life and its timetables. There are also several scenes that revolve around an office setting for the amusement of everyone who has ever worked in a cube farm.

Beanie Avatar

Location: under the jellicle moon

Posted: Dec 16, 2013 - 7:32pm

Congratulations! What a journey!

meower Avatar

Location: i believe, i believe, it's silly, but I believe

Posted: Dec 16, 2013 - 9:52am

It all goes to the same place. Have Faith.
ditty Avatar

Location: centex

Posted: Dec 16, 2013 - 6:36am

finally, the wait is over!  Just downloaded to my kindle.


BlueHeronDruid Avatar

Location: planting flowers

Posted: Dec 14, 2013 - 6:08pm

Oh goody! Lookie what hobbitt just put on my Kindle!
What Day Is This?
helenofjoy Avatar

Location: Lincoln, Nebraska

Posted: Dec 14, 2013 - 2:20pm

Thanks!  Just bought my Kindle edition!  Congratulations! {#Cheers}
Shine On.
Coaxial Avatar

Location: 543 miles west of Paradis,1491 miles east of Paradise

Posted: Dec 14, 2013 - 9:00am

I've got one headed my way. Congratulations, Alex!{#Clap}
swell_sailor Avatar

Location: The Gorge

Posted: Dec 14, 2013 - 7:47am

ab origine
oldviolin Avatar

Location: esse quam videri

Posted: Dec 14, 2013 - 7:16am

Congratulations sweetheart. It takes drive to overcome the sense of desperation of time flying by
while you're patiently waiting for the pieces of the puzzle to come together.
You certainly have that.{#Good-vibes}{#Daisy} A sense of humor and faith in yourself helps too.