“How Does it Feel When That Brand New Book Arrives?”

When my second book, The Procrastinating Child: A Handbook for Adults to Help Children Stop Putting Things Off  was published, friend swamped me with questions about my new life as an author. The most common question was: “How did it feel to see your brand new book after all that work?”

Several people asked if it was comparable to giving birth and seeing your new baby for the first time. Well, it’s not quite that tidal wave of emotion, but it does feel like a number of smaller but beautiful waves of feelings because the book kind of arrives in chunks.

First you see the words and how they are formatted in a “galley” which has rough drafts of the inside illustrations, lots of typographic errors that still need to be corrected and a fake cover. Then you see a mock up of the cover but it’s in black and white.

Now, I don’t know how it works for other authors, but with me, a magazine writer who interviewed me said that he had just seen the final cover of my book at Amazon.

I went there and sure enough, he was right. That was the first time I ever saw the real cover of my book. I loved it immediately.

Next, I received in the mail a copy of the real honest-to-gosh book. It was a thrill, but it arrived as I was walking out the door to present a seminar, so I opened it as I drove, and kept sneaking peeks at it as I presented.

The next highlight would have been seeing it on display in a store, which has sort of happened. While doing a program in Collinsville, Illinois last week, a local bookstore set up a display to sell my books, and there were seven copies of my brand new book. I was thrilled and then even MORE thrilled when they told me it sold out in five minutes.

For those of you who love to hear numbers, the first printing of THE PROCRASTINATING CHILD was 8,000 copies and after the book was in the stores for ten days, the publisher (Walker & Co., NY) did a second printing. My first book, THE PROCRASTINATOR’S HANDBOOK just had 9,000 copies run off for its 22nd printing.

Shortly after its publication, my publisher called to tell me there will be a feature of THE PROCRASTINATING CHILD in TIME magazine; it will be an interview PLUS they will send a photographer for a photo shoot. That sounded pretty exciting. I’ve heard of photo shoots in exotic places like Hawaii and Cancun, and thought “Well, Chicago has some exotic places like the top of the Sears Tower and Buckingham Fountain. Who knows?”

Next day, Matt the Photographer called with a short, quick message: “We want you looking at a big clock at a train station, with you in focus and the people behind you out of focus.”
I told him, “We have a train station right here in Des Plaines, Illinois that has a big clock.”
Matt said, “Perfect. See you tomorrow.”

Later that day, the phone rang. It was the photographer again.
Matt: Not Des Plaines, Union Station downtown Chicago. OK with you?
Me: Sounds like fun. Almost exotic.
Matt: Right … OK … see you tomorrow.

Matt: Do you mind if you’re holding the clock instead of looking at it?
Me: No problem.
Matt: It’s big
Me: How big.
Matt: Not too big.
Me: I can do it.
Matt: See you tomorrow

Matt: Not a train station. A playground. You know – like for kids?
Me: Sounds good. That’ll be fun.
Matt: Um, do you mind if you’re on a merry-go-round? The kind that’s a flat circle and spins around?
Me: I can do that.
Matt: I’ll be on it too, so you’ll be in focus but the background will be out of focus. OK?
Me: I can do that.
Matt: We don’t have much time to track one down.
Me: We have some playgrounds in our town with merry-go-rounds.
Matt: Hmmmmm, I’ll have to scout them out, but I don’t’ have that much time tomorrow.
Me: My husband bought a digital camera that he is desperate to justify buying. He can take the location shots and email them to you.
Matt: Great. See you tomorrow.

Matt: Thank Bruce for the scouting and the photos. The merry-go-round in the first playground is perfect. Ummm, is it OK with you if my assistant Jim spins it around while I shoot your photos? That will give us a great out-of-focus background.
Me: I can do that.
Matt: Can you be holding a clock?
Me: I can do that.
Matt: It’s big.
Me: How big?
Matt: Not too big.
Me: Matt, are we talking a 6-foot grandfather’s clock?
Matt: No, its not really, really big.
Me: OK, I can do it.
Matt: Great. See you tomorrow. Oh, um, about the spinning, it won’t be round and round, it will be back and forth.
Me: When I was a kid, there was this ride we called “The Vomit Comet” ….
Matt: Well, if you get sick, we’ll do something else.
Me: OK, we can do it. See you tomorrow.

Matt: Would be nice if we had kids in the background.
Me: I can get kids.
Matt: Like running around?
Me: They can run.
Matt: Dressed in bright colors?
Me: They can do that.
Matt: Great. See you tomorrow

Now I don’t have a copy of the photo that will be used out of the 120 Matt took, but Bruce in his desperation to justify buying his digital camera took many, many pictures of Matt the Photographer, Jim the Spinner, and me --- balanced with my feet precariously wedged on wet metal because it’s raining … holding a clock that is not too big.

The shoot lasted an hour and a half, the children lasted 45 seconds. My daughter-in-law Michelle set up her two sons, Connor, age 6, and Noah, 4 for the photo. She drew a large circle on the ground and while Matt set up in between shots, the boys ran around in circles just like Matt wanted; the instant he started taking pictures, the boys disappeared up the slide ladder out of sight.

About 6 feet off to the left, was our son Robb, who is the designated toddler-wrangler for almost-two-year old Brynn. Every once in a while Matt would call out “Any chance that sweet, adorable little girl will toddle through the background?” Robb, the cop, would shout back, “Not a chance. She’s not being sweet, she’s not being adorable, she won’t leave the swings”

At one point, Matt said, “I’m desperate for a child. Please bring on the toddler.”
And Robb, who enforces the law, orders around drug dealers and gang members, and is feared by speeding drivers who he pulls over, responded, “I can’t get her to; she just wants to swing in the rain.”

So, someday, when I see the final photo in TIME magazine, perhaps it will be from one of the rare moments in which one or more of my glorious, gorgeous grandchildren are running in the background, or perhaps not. But I will always cherish it as a happy reminder of my one brief, shining moment as a “model” in a photo shoot in a semi-exotic playground in the rain.

Hope this satisfies the curiosity of all you who were so kind to ask questions about the glamorous life of an author. I’m living my dream come true.

NEWS FLASH: As we are on the brink of mailing this, the publisher called. The TIME interview has been canceled. ****sigh****

Please use this bio:

Rita Emmett, author of The Procrastinator’s Handbook, is a professional speaker who presents Keynotes and Seminars nationwide. She can be reached at 847-699-9950 and email is Rita@RitaEmmett.com.
To subscribe to her free monthly Anticrastination Tip sheet with quick short tips & ideas to help break the procrastination habit, go to the first page of her website RitaEmmett.com

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