Tuesday, 6 November 2012

PTSD / Diary of a Vet's Wife / Where's the Book!?!

On July 28, 2012, I learned that my memoir, Diary of a Vet's Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder had slammed into a brick wall, and for a while, I didn't know if my PERFECT COVER was going to survive.  I was crushed . . . but not broken.

Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.     Gilda Radner
My last post on July 16th was a SNEAK PEEK at the cover of my memoir, Diary of a Vet’s Wife, Loving and Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  The PERFECT COVER for my story!
A literary high enveloped me as I downloaded my PERFECT COVER to Booklocker, my self-publisher, on July 28th.  My mind wandered as I envisioned unwrapping the brown paper package, which could arrive within two weeks.  After all the tears and all the years, I would finally hold in my hands, the first copy of Diary of a Vet's Wife, otherwise known as the galley.
The next day, I learned my cover had been rejected!!
It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.   Robert W. Service, poet

BookLocker’s email indicated there was no bleed . . . .  

What did that mean? I had no idea, so I looked it up: "A bleed is when a photo or graphic runs beyond the edge of the finished printed page, with the excess trimmed off before the book is bound.  You prepare for a bleed in the document setup before you begin your layout, and in the file preparation for the commercial printer after the design is finished."

I forwarded BookLocker's email to Australia, but they were already on holiday in Hawaii.  And I was leaving for my family reunion in Ohio - for THREE weeks.  What a predicament!

Hence, the parade of delays began . . . .

Once I returned from Ohio, my team in Australia worked diligently to correct the problem.  After another rejection, they apologized with the fact that they were unable to meet all of the printer's specifications.

I contacted BookLocker and asked if their cover designer could correct the bleed.  My next lesson unfolded . . . "like all written material, there’s an automatic copyright on original covers."  BookLocker’s cover designer would only design a NEW COVER!
But I didn't want a new cover!  Was I about to lose my PERFECT COVER?
A tearful pity party brought my sister to my rescue.  She and her husband have published a local newspaper in Ohio since 1995.  She said SHE COULD FIX IT!!  Thank you, Lord.  However, she and her assistant must start from scratch.  By working with the team in Australia, they could duplicate the original cover design, but I'd have to WAIT IN LINE with the newspapers yet to be published.  
“A setback is a setup for a comeback.”  T.D. Jakes 
Sadly, my technical-know-how could swim laps in a match box.  Without going into detail, I learned that "computer advertising" and "newspaper printing" each have their own unique set of specifications.  Never the two shall mix like oil and water.  Period.  
Self-publishing is a little like putting an octopus to bed.   Anne Lamott

I'll skip the details.  As soon as the three editions went to press, my sister, Karen, and her assistant, Amanda, went to work to re-create my PERFECT COVER.  All of the original photos, blurbs, book review, etc., had been sent from Sydney to Ohio, where everyone concurred to duplicate the original cover.  There were a few snags along the way, but all were determined to make it happen.  My sister is amazing!

I held my breath and waited.  Everything was upside-down and I had no idea how to translate this into a blog.  Anyone ever been there?

On October 29th, the re-creation of my PERFECT COVER was downloaded to BookLocker!  They acknowledged receipt!  The next day, I learned that shortly after my cover was sent, Hurricane Sandy hit Ohio, knocking power out for three days.  I feel guilty being happy when so many have had their lives and futures destroyed.  Please forgive me.

Where am I today?

As a writer, who decided to self-publish after a year of querying with no results, I can breathe again.  If I had known the challenges up-front, would I still have proceeded?  I don't know.  But I do know I'm a much stronger and self-confident person because of this journey.

What next? 

I wait for the galley.  And as soon as it arrives, I'm going to Trader Joes and buy bouquets of yellow roses!  Off  in the distance you might hear the sound of fireworks soaring through the heavens, as I compose a blog with the announcement.  I've spent almost two decades preparing for this moment!

My Personal Request ~

If anyone reading my memoir knew my husband, Lorne, in Viet Nam, I'd like to communicate with you.  Does anyone know who took the picture that's on the cover?  I'd be most grateful. . . .   

Please contact me @ diaryofavetswife@hotmail.com.  


  1. Nancy, it's so great to hear from you! I'm sorry your self-publishing adventure has been so frustrating, but I am certain you will get there. I'm looking forward to the fireworks!

    1. Becky, your words mean so much. I've been battling dragons and now it feels like I've come home. Writers understand writers like no one else. The passion that dwells within will carry each of us to the finish line, if we don't give up. Plus I've always loved fireworks! :)

  2. I have greatest respect for you for sticking it out and not letting go of your dream!
    I'll be waiting with baited breath until you've got it in your hands. Good luck!!!

    1. Your words are too kind, Chris. Maybe it's stubbornness, or maybe that I once read, "Most people give up just when they're about to achieve success." I don't know where that point is, but I don't want to be one of them, and I do believe my story will touch many.
      Gentle thoughts always. :)

  3. Oh Nancy, you have been through the fire and back!!! I am so proud of your project and of you and am honored to know you.Lorne is smiling down with profound love for you, know that!!!
    Like Becky, I can't wait for the fireworks.
    All best, always.
    Love and prayers.

  4. I echo what the others have said. It's a tough passion, and even harder to get published. Stand proud and don't back down. Hugs.

    1. Brenda, I've missed your wit and amazing prose. Been gone too long! I know I'm near the end of this phase, and I'll rest a bit before chasing into the next. It's been an extraordinary journey, dragons and all, but the gifted women I've met rank at the tip-top of my journey. Thanks for your constant support. Luv ya.

  5. Hi there - yes the cherries were from a glass jar - I'd say 200 g was about 3/4 a cupful or maybe 1/2 a cup - quantities varying not an issue. Good luck

    1. Thanks, Carole. I'll let you know when it happens. First, I have to catch a duck. :)

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  6. Hi Nancy, You write the most interesting posts, not that I don't regret that you had to experience so much angst over your cover, but you tell such a good story...and this one is a story of perseverance and triumph. I think the cover is great. I can't wait to read the book; you're such a good writer.

    I've been thinking seriously of self publishing my first book. It's only been a few months since I began looking for an agent for it, but the whole process is such a pain in the neck to me. However, after reading your post, sounds like self publishing is a pain in the neck too. Does it ever go smoothly?

    BTW, I love your new photo.

    1. Oh, Nancy, thank you for your kind words, they mean so much!

      My reply is tardy because I left for Australia 12/5 and returned yesterday, 12/27. Oodles to do to get back to normal, need to work on a new blog, and begin marketing my book, which I will share with my readers. Also anxious to get back on SheWrites. Self-publishing was too intense at the end, leaving no time to chat. But I'm back now :)

      Self-publishing was not my 1st choice because I lacked confidence, but now that I've learned the ropes I see this as the BEST choice. And if you do a good job a publisher will seek you out! I've shared my stumbling blocks so others could avoid them. Remember, nothing good comes easy.

      Glad you liked new photo, I wanted to be approachable. A girlfriend and I spent a fun afternoon shooting lots of different setups and this is the one I liked the best.

      Ebook came out while I was gone. All have many chapters excerpted, if you want to read more. B&N the most (12?). Please leave review on Amazon if my story has touched you. Thank you in advance.

      Will reply personally to self-pub questions at diaryofavetswife@hotmail.com. lol