Just the Beginning or a Swan Song?

The book in question.
Photo by Diane Taylor

During the last month or so, I have provided or mailed copies of my self-published book, “If I suddenly look 35, I’ll Let you Know” to friends near and far. I can’t remember the reason I decided to put together a book, though colleagues at Writers of Southern Nevada had always flattered me by saying I “should” write a book. They were writers of entire novels; I just wrote short essays, some of them hopefully amusing, in a weekly column. Why I decided now to make a book out of my short pieces, I don’t know. But I decided.

So my writings were gathered, read, edited by me and sent to another writer I know, Brian Rouff, Managing Partner at Imagine Communications. I was told Brian has helped folks like me publish books. (Brian has written three of his own novels as well.) Brian accepted the challenge of my first book, read my stories and sent them to an editor. Tiffany Pace. Tiffany corrected all my “space” problems and spelling errors. Tiffany also made a comment that resulted in the book’s new title, for which I am grateful. Brian talked his partner, Alex Raffi, into doing illustrations for each of my stories, and I noticed a great improvement in the book’s fun as a result. Sue Campbell Book Design is responsible for the book’s overall design including the book cover. Jake Klein came over to the house and took pictures. The whole thing moved so fast and was so pleasant, my goal of having a book to distribute at the Christmas holidays was three months early.

I never planned to send my book to Amazon hoping to make money. My book, slimmer than most, was always intended for give-away only. If people were to want extra copies, they would get them…as soon as I could put them in the mail or deliver them in person.

I loved that I had such a plan. I received nice in-person comments such as, “I read a chapter every night before gong to sleep” and “I teared up reading about dear Paul.” Two of my lady readers also picked up on the fact that I wear clip earrings and I now have MORE clip earrings than I have days left to wear them, but I love trying them on and giving them life.

Also, hand-written thank you notes and news from long-time friends arrived…even from as far away as Alaska. One book recipient wrote me a seven-page letter telling me her version of the subjects discussed in each story. She also was the correspondent who hoped for a sequel, but then asked if I intended the book to be my “swan song”.

I have kept all the great notes and emails regarding the book.
Photo by Diane Taylor

No, the book wasn’t a “swan song”, but I did have a sort of “now or never” feeling about it. And frankly the timing couldn’t have been better. Readers were shut down because of the coronavirus watching angry political experts go back and forth and then…my book arrived. I had responses that made almost every day special for me. Examples: “I’m having lots of laughs and smiles and perhaps a bit of inspiration” and “Got your book; it is a riot; I summed up the content as ‘This is us!'” and “My wife read the first story as soon as I opened the envelope and was chuckling immediately” and “I was not having a great day yesterday and then your book arrived.”

I know several of the folks who got the book have not opened it, but maybe in time….but at least that cartoon cover is great fun. And I had one person, not a friend but a new acquaintance, who was given a book, but who two weeks later did not remember ever having met me or been given a book. “Oh yes,” she said finally. “I gave the book to my mother. Mom is in her 90s, but a reader.” The book IS for mature readers…so O.K.

I had ordered three boxes of books and I didn’t want to die suddenly and have folks who cleaned up after me find boxes and boxes of unsold books. Hence the distribution. Also I was relentless in carrying around at least one extra book should a sudden give-away opportunity arise.

I am on my last box, thank you.

Incidentally, because I still have some books, envelopes and stamps left, if you or an interested friend did not get a book, just let me know (DTWriter@MAC.com) where to send one. I want to distribute as many of my books as I can while the need for a few smiles is still urgent.

One of the books I distributed was to the man who comes to the house every month to spray for bugs. He’s a bit older, so I had asked if he had a wife or a mother. He had both…so of course, he was given two books. The next time he visited, he noted as he left, “My wife is getting a kick out of your book.”

Couldn’t ask for more.


5 responses on “Just the Beginning or a Swan Song?

  1. Definitely not your swan song yet! We all need another compilation of your articles in another book (a sequel?) to make our “Covid” lives better. Your lighthearted outlook of life is quite refreshing. You certainly bring smiles with your writing.
    Truly loved your book!!! It brought back happy memories about those days with Paul and Angel (missing them so much, still). Thank you so very much for your thoughtfulness.

  2. Thanks Aurora. You are a good friend who always is way sweeter than the occasion demands, but I love hearing from you.

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