Packing up a few years in a small box and shipping it away

posted in: Books, Creativity, Knitting, Publishing | 1

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See that box? It’s a FedEx small box. We didn’t even need a medium-sized box, let alone a big box. That compact item (weight 2 pounds 4 ounces, or a smidge more than 1 kilo) represents several years of author Donna Druchunas‘ and my lives, plus several months of some other folks’ creativity, including my daughter’s and the illustrators’, and the culmination of a lot of knowledge and practice by the cover designer, indexer, and others.

It’s Ethnic Knitting Discovery, in the form of a CD plus a printed reference copy plus a signed printers’ contract plus packing and labeling instructions for the cartons of books that will be produced from this over the next several weeks. Yesterday we delivered the cover files and the PDFs of the interior to the printer by FTP but there are still hard-copy materials that have to be physically shipped. For example, because of all the illustrations, the application files for the interior are just too darn big to FTP in a reasonable amount of time, so a CD’s still the easiest way to send them.

Tomorrow the box will be delivered to the printer in Michigan and then we can start counting days.

Today, finally, pre-orders started showing up as having been placed (instead of just estimated) at our bookstore distributor‘s website. Apparently accounts are slow at confirming orders right now because they’re still recovering from Harry Potter. It’s good to see the numbers in the middle column jump. (Left column: estimates by sales reps. Middle column: orders placed. Right column: orders shipped, which of course they can’t be yet.) At the end of last week there were 38 copies preordered. That’s neither normal nor cheerful. Today’s numbers are much, much, much better, and the estimates even increased by about 35 percent.

This is completely separate from yarn store orders, which come through other channels and which I can’t track online.

This afternoon was the first time this book has been off my desk in a couple of years, and it has felt really odd not to have it there. That’s normal. Just before a book goes to press, I feel all energized and ready to launch into the next book right away . . . I also think that if I start immediately I’ll be able to get the next one completed in record time. Then the book really goes to press and I figure out that I’m tired.

So once I’d slid the box into the FedEx drop box (THUNK), I came home and started messing with charts for another book, which felt great, but I know I also need a bit of respite (so do my wrists, and every other place that holds tension in a body that spends lots of hours at a computer). I called to schedule a haircut for Friday. I haven’t had time to get a cut since early May. My daughter will go with me and we’ll celebrate the book’s delivery to the printer with a meal at WaterCourse.

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As the afternoon was winding down, an e-mail alert from Google dropped into my mailbox. It linked to this new article on knitting books from Library Journal, released today. Writer Jan Zlendich has both a librarian’s and a knitter’s eye for books. Her overview makes good reading for anyone who cares about the world of knitting publications.

And that was my opinion even before I noticed the following statements:

  • "Major publishers of knitting titles include Interweave Press,
    Krause, Lark, Martingale, Potter Craft, Sixth&Spring, Sterling,
    Storey, XRX Books, and Stewart, Tabori & Chang. Then there are
    small presses like Schoolhouse, Down East, and Nomad, better known for
    the quality rather than the quantity of titles."
  • "In general, public libraries should aim for a balance of basic
    knitting books. . . . Academic libraries will see more demand for art
    knitting books such as Debbie New’s Unexpected Knitting . . . and explorations of ethnic knitting like Priscilla Gibson-Roberts’s Knitting in the Old Way. . . ."

There’s a nice brief review of Knitting in the Old Way, and the article mentions an online bibliography of more specialized resources and a summary of knitting-related fiction and memoir, both of which I’ll track down once the local library’s copy has made the rounds among the librarians.

I still need a break before I can take up the next project with full strength, but reading those words feels really good.
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Thanks to all the folks everywhere who take the time to review books—among them Jan Zlendich, who is doing every reading knitter a huge service by providing timely and comprehensive coverage of the kinds of books that we love to discover on our libraries’ shelves.

(Most of our books have been reviewed in Library Journal. Knitting in the Old Way was featured in the April 15, 2004, issue, which you can access through your public library. Arctic Lace was reviewed in December 2006; you can find the review by searching on "Arctic" in this page. Simple Socks was reviewed on December 1, 2001.)

Speaking of books we love to discover at the library, anyone who is interested in The Arrival and is waiting for its October publication might want to take a look at Flotsam, by David Wiesner. It’s aimed at slightly younger readers (viewers?) but has a similar sensibility. It’s another of my daughter’s recommendations.

So was Hopeless Savages, which was interesting but not so much my style. It’s got an amusing premise; the way the story is told through the panels and the graphic quality are appealing. Written by Jen van Meter, the different stories have different illustrators; Chynna Clugston-Major and Christine Norrie drew the volume I read. I might read another volume some time because it grew on me in the second half (I hung in that long because my daughter said I’d like it better if I did). What I’d like from it is more story, which might be there in later iterations as the writer has developed narrative depth.

I don’t know if I’d be reading graphic novels without my daughter’s influence, but I found Persepolis and Persepolis II all on my own.

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