Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Christmas All Summer — Darkness, Despair, and a Dare

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.


20 comments:

L.T. Elliot said...

Holy cow. I have a HUGE appreciation for what this book went through to get here. I'm SO glad you shared this story because I never would have known how intense and passionate you felt about this project to do all this. Wow! Way to go, Jana!

Kateastrophe said...

Um, can I win every day? If not I really want to win today!!

Kimberly said...

I am loving all this backstory. Wow...the pressure you were under. You handled it BEAUTIFULLY.

LisAway said...

Oh my. This is just crazy. Two paintings a day!?! Or MORE!?! Next installment, please.

Luisa Perkins said...

Ah, this part I remember well! It really is a miracle that you carried it all off. Genius, pure genius.

The Mom said...

I am feeling your stress while reading this! 2 weeks? Holy cow! I can't wait to hear the rest. You are killing me. ;-)

Jessica said...

Ok, seriously I cannot believe you left me hanging there! It's killing me!! But somehow you pulled it off? A-maz-ing.

ME said...

Cliffhanger after cliffhanger!

breckster said...

I laugh, only because I can imagine you with an easel on a boat in the middle of lake powell--just like I know "hubby" was on the phone with producers during a past mandatory family vacation.

Heather said...

Jana! The paintings are beautiful!!! I need, like, a dozen books ;-) What is the best way for me to order them?

And your post are making me weep. The idea of spending all that time and energy on something you are so passionate about, something that touches so many others, using a talent that you can only be born with. . . is a gift. To all of us.

charrette said...

Thank you, everyone, for your supportive and enthusiastic comments. And if the cliffhangers are painful to read...well, just imagine what they were like to LIVE! :)

I have to answer Heather's question, because it's a good one! The best way to order the books is right on my website. If you click on the cover of the book near the top of my blog it will take you right to the ordering information.

Happy Mom said...

Although not posting, I am dabbling in a few blogs that I follow when I need a break.

Couldn't help commenting. You can do this!! And we'll be anxiously awaiting the book!

Lara said...

You're killing me here Charrette!

I really can't wait to get my hands on this book.

Mom/Gram said...

What an amazing and inspirational story! Thank you for taking time to share it with us. Your paintings are beautiful and you are an incredible woman. I have loved learning from you.

Redi-Kilowatt said...

Wow...oh the miracles...a helper, a window of opportunity that gets opened...if anyone can pull off the crazed deadline it is you. Can't wait to see the new "What Think Ye of Christ?"

val of the south said...

Wow!!

Marie said...

Sorry to burst your bubble -- you always come through under pressure!

Shari said...

Eek! Two weeks. I'm picturing myself attempting to finish a project in that amount of time. Yeah--impossible. I'm biting my nails to see what happens next.

Rachel said...

Thank you for writing all of this. You've done something amazing. I'm so glad you were brave enough to try.

deb said...

I'm back.... so so sorry for the hiatus.
Have been functioning on auto with little brain power suffering from a stupid virus of some sort.

I kept saving the "important need to read with all my brain cells" blogs until night, but haven't been able to wait for my turn on the computer after 11 or so.

apologies. I am here. With open heart .