Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Book Is Here!

And now, Ladies & Gentlemen, is the moment we have all been waiting for!  Well, you may not have been waiting as anxiously as I have, but I have been waiting, anxiously, on the edge of my seat, with great anticipation.  Amazing Animals by Design is available for purchase!

The road to this moment has been fun, and I hope to repeat it with other books in the future.  If you have thought about writing a book or getting one published and are curious about the process, please read back through this blog.  For those of you who have followed me from the beginning, THANK YOU!

Amazing Animals by Design is available now in paperback at Tate Publishing for $8.99.  The official release date for national retailers is April 3.  After the official release, it will be available from Amazon and national retailers like Books-A-Million and Barnes & Noble.  I will be doing book signings at those places then.  Until then, I will be doing local book-signings and pre-release events, getting the word out!  The audio book and official website will be ready closer to the release date.  I will be posting a schedule of book signings here on the blog!

I will give away one free PDF version of the book from this blog.  If you are interested, please leave a comment below to enter the drawing!  I will draw one name on Friday, February 3.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Final Stages

Here it is, folks!  I have permission to share the cover and a few of the characters from Amazing Animals By Design!  I have proof-read the final draft, exchanged forms back and forth with the editors, and am turning it in for the last time.  Everything is final: the text, the font, the illustrations, and the cover.  Next, it will be going to print, and I will be talking to a publicist about setting up book-signings.  I already have permission to do book-signings and get reviews in several places.  Stay posted; I'll be putting a schedule up on the blog.  The excitement is mounting.  I can hardly stand it!

Meet John, Sarah, and the caracal.  A bit better than my doodling that I had on here before, don't you think?!  What?  You've never heard of a caracal?  Then I guess you'll be waiting on the edge of your seat until you can buy my book!

Friday, January 6, 2012

What Is Your Book About, Anyway?

"So," people are starting to ask me, now that the release is getting closer and closer, "what is your book about, anyway?"

My book is called Amazing Animals by Design, from which the title of this blog came.  In a nutshell, its purpose is to introduce young children to the theory of Intelligent Design.

If you are not familiar with the theory of Intelligent Design, it basically says that if you were walking in the woods and you found a wristwatch laying on a stump, you probably would not say, "Would you look at that?  The rocks and twigs in the woods around here somehow managed to form into the pieces of a clock mechanism, and fell into place to perfectly make this functioning wristwatch."  Instead, you would probably observe, "Hmm, someone has been in this part of the woods before me."  You would rightly assume that the timepiece was made by a clock designer, and that the designer had the intelligence to deliberately design and build the mechanism.  In the same way, when I look at the world around me, I do not believe that the intricacies of nature, which are far more complicated than a wristwatch, could have happened by accident.  I believe that they were put into place by an Intelligent Designer, who designed them and set them into motion willfully and purposefully.

I was teaching my children about the theory of Intelligent Design, but I found much of the material to be over their heads.  (There is a list of resources at the bottom of this post.)  The scientific research behind this theory is staggering, and someday I hope my children will understand it all.  For that matter, I hope that someday I will understand it all!  For the time being, though, I wanted a storybook.  We have books for children about Creation and about Evolution.  We have books that say we believe God created the animals.  I wanted a book that explained, on a child's level, that specific characteristics of animals that they can see at a zoo indicate the presence of a Designer of the animals.

That is how my book came about.  The animals in it are animals we had learned about over multiple trips to several different zoos.  Some are familiar and some are not so familiar.  It is really a very small, simple storybook with one purpose: to explain what "Design" is and to point to examples of it in Nature.  I hope to write more storybooks on the theory of Intelligent Design in the future.

Today, I received an actual hard copy of the book in the mail!  This is another one of those exciting moments that I just can't describe - to hold an actual copy of my published book in my hands!  What I have now is the final proof.  I will check it for errors, send it back, and then it will go to print!  I cannot wait to share it with you!

If you are interested in learning more about the theory of Intelligent Design, here are some resources:

The Case for a Creator by Lee Strobel - book or DVD
     The Case for a Creator, Student Edition by Lee Strobel & Jane Vogel
     The Case for a Creator for Kids by Lee Strobel
The Privileged Planet DVD by Illustra Media
Unlocking the Mystery of Life DVD by Illustra Media
Where Does the Evidence Lead DVD by Illustra Media
Incredible Creatures That Defy Evolution DVDs, Volumes I, II, & III, featuring Dr. Jobe Martin
Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed Documentary with Ben Stein
The Discovery Institute: Center for Science & Culture - This think tank website contains many articles and references.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Picture for the Back Cover

There was one more very important step in getting my book through Layout, and that was having a picture taken for the back cover!  This needs to be a professional photo and not a snapshot, and can be taken at a place like Wal-mart or JCPenney that has a photo studio.  I am lucky, however, to have a very good friend who is an excellent photographer.  She took this photo for my back cover, and if she starts up her business again, I'll put a link on my page here for her!

A Month In Layout

The past month, my book has spent the holidays in Layout.  I have been very pleased by the progress and how quickly it is moving along, even while the publisher's employees have been taking their Christmas vacations and such.  The Layout department took the manuscript I wrote and the pictures from the illustrator, and started putting it all together into a real book!  During December I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present than the PDF files I received with the front cover, and then one with all the pages done.  I was able to virtually "turn" the pages on the computer and read my PDF book to my kids!!  Hmm, maybe that doesn't sound as exciting as it really is, but trust me, if you write a children's book, the moment you can show your kids something that looks like a book with your name in the author's spot, and turn the pages and read it to them, is a GREAT moment!

As far as changes that are still being made, I received three different versions of the front cover, and I was able to choose one.  They were similar as far as the illustrations went, but used different colors and fonts for the title.  Any of them would have been fine.  I chose the cover that had the most animals in the illustration, since my book is about animals.  The manuscript I wrote was written in stone after the editing stage, and the illustrations are what they are now that the illustrator has completed her job.  In Layout, as the term implies, Layout is the only thing that can change.  I have not asked for many changes, either because the publishers are very good at what they do and know a lot more about it than I do, or just because I don't know any better!

The final layout of the book, Amazing Animals By Design, in printed hard copy, was mailed to me on Tuesday.  I cannot wait to get this in my hands!  When I receive this proof, I will be checking it for things like print mistakes that need to be corrected, and good color.  Once I approve the proof and return it, my book will move into the last step - Printing - and a Marketing Representative will be contacting me.

You know what that means.  It means I'm going to be contacting all of you to come to my book signings and buy my book!  I can't wait to show you a little bit more of what it will actually look like.  None of the illustrations on this blog right now are what will be in the book at all.  That is all in production, so I've just used doodles and clipart here.

The New Year has begun, and I will always remember 2012 as The Year I Got My First Book Published!

Happy New Year!