Day 29 . October 11 – ( I am using the prompt for Day 31 that came after I’d written and posted Day 31 without a prompt. NOW I am using the prompt for day 31 to fill in for the one I’d missed on day 29. Confused?)

What is the single best piece of advice you’ve ever received about the publishing process and/or what advice would you offer to a first-time author? 

I can still hear the Cuban-accented voice of Eduardo Cervino: “Just do it!”

I had hit a wall of fear. I was about to drop out on my dream to publish my book in time for the Tucson Festival of Books. The writing was done, the editing was done; I had even talked to a local printer and I was ready to self-publish.  I felt overwhelmed.

I went to a book signing event at Dog Eared Pages, a community bookstore that spotlights local authors, where Eduardo and his wife Lesley Sudders were selling and signing books. “How much time is left? Three weeks? Plenty of time! You can use CreateSpace; it’s how we publish our books. Come over to see us and we will help you.” He handed me their business card with their email address.

I knew Eduardo and Lesley from several of the meetups.  I was surprised to find that they lived less than a mile from me, and even more surprised when they agreed to meet me; ‘Can you come over after dinner, about 7?” They were night owls, too! A good omen!

At this point I was hopeful I could make my deadline and have a box of books in time for the event in Tucson. Lesley began reviewing my manuscript, showing me how to format so the chapters all started on a right side page. Eduardo went to work on the cover. Over the weekend he had taken pictures of some twins in a twin-stroller, with the idea of putting them on the cover of my book! He proudly showed off the pictures as he told me: “You want people who want to adopt to buy your book! These are cute kids. They are perfect. . . Or if you have another idea, we can work with that.”

Although my target audience included prospective adopters, it also included birth mothers and birth fathers and adult adoptees and adoption professionals who might recommend the book to their clients. I opted for a neutral cover design based on the logo on my business card. Eduardo went to work on photoshop, working the magic of fitting the logo onto the book. By the next day, he had a cover roughed out that met my expectations.

On the back of the cover, we used my head shot that had been taken for this purpose by a photographer at the Holiday Book Event (sponsored by Phoenix Publishing and Book Marketing meetup) in December, 2014.  We three worked together writing the copy for the back of the book, leaving space for the ISBN, and voila! The cover was ready.

I had followed Lesley’s directions to open an account with CreateSpace, and I crossed my fingers as we hit ‘send’. Less than 24 hours later I had a confirmation that the book was acceptable for printing. I ordered five DRAFT copies of the book to preview. Lesley helped me make a few changes, and I met the deadline!

Now, when I meet a new author who’s poised on that bubble of fear, I can say with confidence:  “JUST DO IT!”

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