What was I thinking ?
All I wanted was to write stories of my past for my two boys, born in Canada and living in Calgary ever since.
Each step created a dozen obstacles . They wouldn’t budge- but nor would I.
Knowing my own weaknesses, I knew I needed an editor. Someone I could report to every week, thereby forcing myself to write regularly.
“People in the writing industry barely make a living. They are always hungry.” someone told me. It took a year to find an editor who could meet my needs even though I was willing to pay going rates.
The editor – let’s call her Doris – helped me write a book when I didn’t think I could write a chapter.
At the end of fourteen months, the manuscript was completed. Now what ?
Meeting authors, they complained incessantly of losing control over how their books were published and when.
My book was built on one short story after another. Halfway through my assignment, my editor believed my stories were good enough to be published in literary magazines. She was right. They were published all over the world.
So why not have them published in a book. If I feared losing control over my book, why not self publish?
The total word count was 30,000. It needed boosting. My day job was accounting. Wes, a client for eight year , came to mind. He had his own marketing company . He was also a genius at illustrating, but as tardy as a snail. I asked him to illustrate my book and give me his opinion about how to market it.
Doris was a stickler for excellence in writing and harboured an ambition to be my publicist.
“How much experience do you have as a publicist ? ” I asked .
” None.” she replied candidly.
” What should we call the book, Doris ? “
” Full Circle.”
” That title is so commonplace, it won’t entice readers. How would you describe the contents ?”
” An autobiography.”
” It’s more than that. It’s about travel and values and eccentrics.”
Doris was as stubborn as a mule. That was fine for my writing but a disaster for publishing.
Wes hit the nail immediately.
” You should call it after one of your chapters. How about ‘ Chasing Aphrodite’? Now let me draw you a cover.”
it was brilliant. Bright, busy and totally captivating. His black and white illustrations for each chapter garnered him praise from every direction.
Doris left for Australia in a huff.
Stephen, once a manager at a large print shop, started his own book layout and binding company- Winsor’s Design and Printing – in Calgary. He took on the task of printing my book, initially in small numbers.
Greywood was introduced to me by his parents- neighbours of mine. He would create and maintain my website.
Wes couldn’t administer nor work the social media. For that, Emily was brought in.
Doris was replaced by Robin to be my creative editor and we are now halfway through my second book- New York State of Mind.
We all meet once a week and fire each other up. All my colleagues are strong minded yet respect each other enough to listen and improve the path we are on.
Calgary has been my home since 1980. Despite my financial vicissitudes, it has provided me with the means to follow my dreams. One of them was to have a team of misfits solely from Calgary who were passionate in what they created. I allowed them to contribute in any way they wished. To have gone abroad to a publicist or a printer would have saved time and money but it would have destroyed my dream of giving back to my community. And that is what my books are about.
May 22, 2019
Connecting to Eternal Truths Through Storytelling
I was born in 1955 in Tanzania to East Indian, Muslim parents. My mother, who possessed no education but held impossible dreams, divorced my father when I was five, and was immediately ostracized by her community. She moved to England and took me with her.
How the Wes was Won
“Don’t use him as an illustrator. Why waste your money? He’s never done a book cover before and besides, the publishers will handle it.” Thus spake Zarathustra, or Doris to her friends, my erstwhile editor.
How to Fail an Interview with Flying Colours
I had written the first chapter of my book “And where are you from?” in 2007 while hibernating in Cyprus. What was needed? Someone to review and edit. The task was so simple.
Why did it take a year to find someone?