Continued from a previous post--but the story really starts here.
Now, on with the saga...
Our distributor suddenly tells us he needs a box of books in time for an important booksellers convention...on August 3! I'm finding this out on June 17th. Yikes! Ordinarily I would respond to a request like that with, "there's no way this is humanly possible" or maybe even a curt "that's SO not gonna happen!". The books are being printed overseas, with a six-and-a-half-week turnaround. I look at my calendar and sigh. That means the project needs to go to press...um, yesterday. And I have little more than a big pile of sketches on tissue paper and some empty files on the computer. It looks like the little-project-that-could has finally run out of steam.
Of course I realize this convention is our one chance to place the book in the hands of booksellers across the country. If we miss this convention, we'll have to wait not just a few weeks but a whole year for the next booksellers convention. We'll have no hope of getting it out this Christmas. All the money the author invested in the project will be sitting stagnant for a year and a half, with no return.
All the momentum I had built up for the project is rapidly dying. If we drag it out for another year, my intern Katie will have long since graduated. I'll have no more help. I feel like I'm stalled at a dead-end. It's impossible to send the book to press right this minute, and a marketing death sentence to wait any longer.
In one desperate move, like a 3-point shot hurled from the back of the basketball court before the buzzer rings, I place a call to my printer in Los Angeles: Peter, what can I do? Is there any way to shorten this window of time and get the books here by the beginning of August?
Amazing problem-solver that he is, he looks into paying a little extra to air-ship one box ahead of time, just for the booksellers convention, and sending the rest slow boat. If we do that he can deliver that first box in just 2 1/2 weeks after we sign off on the final proofs. He just bought us a month!
Reviving somewhat, I count backwards on my calendar: August 1, July 31, July 30...It looks like I can send the book to press on July 8 or 9...which means — oh, dear — I have to finish all the paintings by July 1! That's in fourteen days!
Two weeks. Twenty paintings. That’s more than I would typically finish in two YEARS! It’s beyond insane—and yet, rather fittingly...so am I! :)
I work out a schedule. I give myself two days to scan all my sketches into the computer and set the type so I can be sure it all fits. Taking Sundays off, that leaves me a total of ten days to do all the paintings — exactly two paintings a day! If I start at 7 in the morning and paint until midnight every night, maybe I can actually do this!
EXCEPT...oh, no! We have an extended family vacation (a trip to Lake Powell) that’s been planned for almost a year...scheduled right in the middle of my two-week crunch! My hubby lets me know in no uncertain terms he is expecting me to be there.
To be continued...part 4 is here.