I swear, I'm going to try to keep the references to the process of printing a book as a birthing to a minimum, because if I don't then this blog post would be awkward and filled with goop and you don't want that. Believe me, I'd end up telling you what happened in the room next to mine that made the husband violently puke in the bathroom and scared/distracted my doctor while I was in labor with Thing One.
See? Told you you didn't want that.
No this post is full of pretty pictures, pretty thoughts, and lots of shiny looks at Rites of Passage that comes out in just a few short weeks!
As a writer, I know all the behind-the-scenes stuff that happens before a book gets to this point. As someone who worked in a book printing factory, I know how the printing part of this works, too, but a lot of you don't, so I thought I'd share.
(A quick note here: I'm not allowed to mention where the factory is or what the company's name is--I had to sign a paper and everything--that's why it's kind of vague-ish on those details. I also had to get special permission to take pictures and there were rules about where to aim the camera and what I couldn't get in the background. There was also a dress code. I felt REALLY SPECIAL this day!).
So, after we writers create, revise, edit, copyedit, and sign off on first pass pages, the book is out of our hands. Then, it goes onto the hands of many other people who do amazingly magical things to our thoughts and words. Look:
The first step is to get the computer document onto metal plates so that it can be printed on these huge rolls of paper--omg, you guys, think, like, a three-thousand pound roll of paper--that's what we're talking about. On the first machine we saw, these huge rolls of blank paper became huge rolls of paper with MY WORDS ON THEM. I wanted to hug them, seriously, but can you imagine the paper cut that might involve?? Ouch!
After the book gets printed on these huge rolls, the magic machines cut and fold the paper so that all the pages are in the right order--thank goodness, right? Otherwise page 12 could come right after page 3 and you would be so confused!
Then, pictures. Pictures with EVERYONE.
Blurry spirit fingers with my friend, Lora!
And then--people asked me to sign books. Ah! The pressure!
This is the first book I've EVER signed.
Then, suddenly--there were more book babies. And more book babies. And they were put in boxes and the boxes stack up and then I realized that HOLY COW I HAVE A LOT OF BOOK BABIES!
Once all the goodbyes were said and I got home, there was just the unbelievably peaceful feeling of being able to say that I never gave up and I lived my dream.
And as hard as it was, it was every bit as fantastic as I thought it might be.
Thank so much to Mandy Hubbard, Jennifer Klonsky, Ruiko Tokunaga, Krista Strawderman, the most amazing book printing company IN THE WORLD, and every one else I'm not naming who made this day just the most amazing day of my entire life!