Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Recently, in my guise of editor and book publisher, I had the pleasure and privilege of helping someone achieve her lifelong dream and labor of love.
It all started back in 1977.
Actually, I didn’t set out to do it in 1977, but the roots got established then when I met a woman who married a man whose mother had a lifelong dream and labor of love. The woman’s name was Lucy, and we met at the school we both went to in London that year. A few years later, she married Tim, the man whose mother had a lifelong dream and labor of love. Meanwhile, I was trying to learn my craft as a writer, pumping out 3000-word short stories and getting a handful of them published in small magazines over the years.
Also meanwhile, as we headed into the ‘90s, technology was developing that would make independent publishing not only possible but also easier and cheaper. And when I’d just about had it with the traditional gatekeeping system (yada yada yada), I jumped into the indie scene for my own work.
Also meanwhile, the woman with the lifelong dream and labor of love was working on her project, a fictionalized account of the life of one of her English ancestors who had come to America in 1643. His name was Francis Brayton, and his story is one of those remarkable Horatio Alger tales that helped forge the American belief that anything is possible.
Lucy contacted me last year and asked if I could help her mother-in-law get her book into print. It just so happened that I had done a couple of my own projects from start to finish on Amazon, with no outside help, so I felt pretty confident saying yes. Soon after, Ann, the woman with a lifelong dream and labor of love, sent me her manuscript. I edited it and made some recommendations, sent it back to her, and then months went by without a word.
While I waited, I put out a paperback edition of Yesterday Road, which I designed myself (but enlisted my cover artist’s help for the back and spine), followed by the paperback of Fascination. For that one I did everything: interior design, front cover, and back and spine. It turned out great.
When Ann finally emerged with a revised manuscript, we were ready to rock and roll. When we were finished, Somewhere Else, Something Different: The Story of Francis Brayton — an Early American was listed on Amazon, available for purchase: the culmination of all of Ann’s tireless work. She had published a book of her own.
I’ve learned in this almost-yearlong process that I really like designing books. I love playing with fonts and page layouts, formatting, finding cover images (always in the public domain, of course), and putting together a coherent, attractive package that the author will embrace. As Ann told me, “That’s my book!”
So have a look at her labor of love. It’s available in ebook format for $2.99 and in paperback for $10.54. I found a couple of dynamite historical fonts for the paperback, along with a graphic of a seventeenth century sailing ship (taken from pirate maps of the time!) for visual interest. It’s a nice-looking edition. And by the way, author Ann Jewett is an energetic octogenarian who’s already working on the next volume in her genealogical saga.
Wow! I love the cover and I really love that the author is in her 80s. Gives me hope.