Some of you may know, but for those of you who don’t, I have my first picture book being released September 03, 2013 titled Monster Needs A Costume. This has been an extremely exciting process of working through revisions, seeing the monster for the first time as well as the cover. But nothing has been more exciting than thumbing through the F&G for the first time. What’s an F&G you ask? Don’t worry it’s not as vulgar as it may sound. It stands for Folded and Gathered. It is the pages of the book printed to the same specifications of the final book, but not trimmed or bound. It is basically a rough soft cover version of the book that is sent out to reviewers and distributors. I must say seeing my book in what is basically book format for the first time was very cool especially when you think about the process of putting it together.
Let me explain.
Since I am not the illustrator for my book, the actual illustrator is the talented Wendy Grieb, I had a very limited role in what the illustrations would be, including what Monster and Boy would look like. Of course like most writers I could picture my characters in my head but that doesn’t necessarily mean that is what is going to be produced. In fact I’m willing to bet nine times out of ten when you have a separate author and illustrator the images you see in a picture book are not the ones imagined by the writer. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. Countless wonderful images in picture books have been created from solely the illustrator’s interpretation. I’m just saying from a writers point of view it’s a bit nerve-racking when you hand over your creation, the thing you have been working on for possibly years, over to someone to illustrate not knowing if you are going to like the final product. Lucky for me when I first saw Monster and Boy I knew the illustrator nailed it.
The next step in this whole publishing thing, after all the revisions are complete, was seeing the Galley proof. This in my opinion was just a cruel tease. This looks like a book with the approved cover but only has one or two illustrations in it and is used for marketing purposes. The time frame on this was several months so the galley proof for me only made the waiting that much harder. Eventually I did get to see all the illustrations digitally for proofing. But even that wasn’t good enough. I’ll be honest I’m not sure if I will ever get used to reading a digital picture book there is something about the tactile experience of flipping through a book that I like but I can talk about that another time. Like I said the digital version wasn’t nearly as exciting as actually holding the F&G in my hands. This was my book. It may not be the hard cover just yet, I still have to wait till September, but I didn’t care. I got to hold it and read it, several times I might add, to my kids that night for bed time, which was totally worth the wait.