From the desk in my second-floor study, I always hear the mail delivery truck rumble up to the mailbox every weekday, yesterday – Monday, January 7, 2013 – being no exception. It was 12:45 p.m. An alarm went off in my head, because I heard the vehicle idling for a bit longer than usual and a metal door sliding open. Margaret was getting out.
I jumped out of my chair, peeked out the window, confirmed my suspicion, and ran downstairs to the kitchen door, darting outside to greet our friendly mail carrier, who had brought a red-white-and-blue USPS Priority Mail box roughly the size of five 230-page softcover novels.
Two Birds had arrived.
I slit the clear tape with a steak knife, careful not to slash my wrist open, which would have possibly dampened my excitement, if not my shirtsleeves. The books were cellophaned in a clump of five. I peeled off the clear wrapping and gingerly removed a copy. It felt good – the texture a combination of paper, fabric, and wax. Whatever they coated the cover with at the printers, I like it.
The cover looks great – kudos to the work of graphic designer Zach O’Brien, who came up with the bird hand-shadow. The title and author are clear on the spine, using the same typeface as on the cover. The paper is warmly off-white; it would have been a mistake to go with a stark white; as I said to Alexandra the Publisher, that would have looked “too textbooky.” Yes, I am a writer.
I flipped through the book, and lo! and behold! it looks and feels like a book. The reality was sinking in. I sat with a copy at the kitchen table and may have shed a tear. Then I stood and stowed my three copies – one in the secretary in the downstairs hallway, and two in the barrister bookcases in my study – which I placed next to my collection of Dashiell Hammett, whose works inspired the feel and flow of Two Birds.
The other two copies will be heading out today to Washington, D.C., specifically to the U.S. Copyright Office. I can’t imagine how large their storage facilities are.
Referring to my previous post: I am feeling more like a bona fide published author now, though I am convinced I won’t reach 100-percent acceptance of that status until copies of the novel are in bookstores, like Kennebooks here in my hometown. Then, perhaps, I’ll allow myself a pat on the back.
Naturally, I’ve already started making notes on alterations to be made for the second printing – a couple of design tweaks, a few minor typos to correct. I seriously wish I could relax.