Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My Second Book is Now Available as an E-Book!

It's a happy day here at the de Jong Dream House. My second book, "But I Don't Wanna Go To Bed" is now available as an e-book! (my first book is out of print, but still available online.)
The hardest part of my post-TBI life is accepting that I've lost my ability to write professionally. Where my thoughts used to flow so fast, I couldn't help but write, now the process is excruciatingly slow, cumbersome, and often full of typos. I usually have Niels proof my blog posts to take care of the most obvious errors. And if I have any sort of deadline, my brain just freezes and I can't think of anything.

About three years ago, when D was a baby, I was up in the middle of the night and I had a rare flash of inspiration. I had the idea for a series of books about a little boy who doesn't always want to do what he needs to do. I ran down to my computer to put down my thoughts and the basic text of the first book, "But I Don't Wanna Go To Bed."

In the morning, I read what I wrote, fully expecting that it would be gibberish. Instead I was very pleasantly surprised that it was still the cute story I thought I wrote the night before.

Over the next few days, I made a very simple version of the book using Powerpoint and images from the internet.

You can see it's been read many, many times.

Interior shot

This gives an idea of how old D was when I started this project.
I've wanted to make the project into an actual book, but knew that my brain would not be up for the pitch process. And really, even though I was working on a proposal for a children's book series before my TBI, I really just wanted something to pass on to my son so he could understand a little bit of my old self.

I remembered my talented friend, Dave Butler, who wrote and illustrated a super cute adoption book, what I had bought for a few of my friends.

So we starting talking about working together to illustrate my story.

Originally, we had hoped to have the book ready for Christmas last year. The idea was that they could read the story to him over Skype as a way to stay connected. But between my terrible three-month headache, the energy spent on our new house build, and the realities of working with a brain that doesn't always work the way I want it to, it took a little longer. Fortunately, Dave was great to work with, and very patient with me!

The page is a great example of how happy I am with his work. Since writing the book, our sweet Bailey dog passed away. Dave added Bailey to each page as a silent tribute to her, and it's fun for D to find her in each page. (It isn't hard, but he's three, so it's fun!). Also, since we're a Dutch family, the tulips are a nice touch. And yellow is D's favorite color.

In February of this year, Dave completed the illustrations and I ordered a small number of hardcover for family, and of course, for D. We ordered through a small printer. The cost per book was pretty high, but I considered it more of a writer's version of photo album. As much as I would have liked it to be a book for sale, I've published before and know that my brain isn't up for the process of proposal-writing and promoting a book at this point. I was just thrilled to have been able to create something for my son so he could have an idea of what his mom used to do.

D had a lot of fun when the books arrived!

I thought that was the end of it, but then a friend of mine from my publishing days contacted me about making it available as an e-book. I was happy to sign the contract and today's the day the book went live on Amazon.

It's a lot less fanfare than my previous book release, but in many ways, I'm even more proud of this book. When I downloaded my copy onto my iPad, D was so excited, he grabbed it and said, "HEY! That's my book!" and immediately started reading it.

And now, maybe, my brain will get started on the next book, "But I Don't Wanna Eat My Peas."

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