Authors spend months - sometimes years - writing their books. They put their hearts and souls into their writing and they work closely with editors and publishers like me to provide the best books they can to potential readers everywhere.
As an author, editor and publisher, one of the most rewarding moments in this process of creating books comes when the author - or, in some cases, illustrator - sees their book for the first time. That first moment can be exciting, scary, nerve-wracking, thrilling, rewarding, some combination of those emotions or so much more.
This year, we assisted several authors and illustrators in creating their new books. We hope you enjoy their reactions to their books.
We weren't with Swift Current, Saskatchewan rancher and cowboy poet Bryce Burnett when he opened his first box of Homegrown and other poems books, but we're pretty sure Bryce looked like this when he saw his book for the first time...
... because Bryce is just a happy kind of guy.
We caught up with Bryce at Swift Current's summer fair. He happily launched his book there and signed autographs for folks as well.
This is Bryce's first book and we are receiving wonderful responses to his poems, which celebrate rural life on the Canadian Prairies, community connections, love, laughter, and spirit and soul. The poems are sometimes funny, sometimes gentle, sometimes enlightening, and always well-written.
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In August, we received two more new books from the printers.
Here I am, holding the book and the bookmark for Jennifer Kuchinka's inspiring memoir, After the Truck Hit: Jennifer Kuchinka's True Story.
The book details Jennifer's recovery from an accident in which she was hit by a semi after she ran out of a hospital onto a highway due to postpartum depression. Jennifer's story is quite incredible. She has recovered to the point that she is back to work as a teacher and is speaking at conferences across Canada to raise awareness of acquired brain injury and of postpartum depression.
When Jennifer received her first shipment of After the Truck Hit books, this first-time author sent us this photo of her reaction:
Looks like a pretty proud author. Or a pretty, proud author.
(Punctuation is important, but both sentences in this case are accurate - and thus correct.)
Jennifer's book is also receiving accolades from readers and is one of the 'Wow!' books we have in our stable of true stories written by Prairie authors.
'Wow' is what customers say to us when they hear the book's storyline.
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The second book we received from the printer that particular August day has a special place in our hearts, because it was written by our eldest daughter, Lisa Driver.
Here are the proud editors/publishers/parents Al and Deana (me) Driver, with Lisa's book, Opening Up: How To Develop Your Intuition And Work With Your Angels.
This picture of us was taken by our eldest grandson, who happened to be visiting that day and begged to use my camera to take this important picture from his six-year-old's view of the action.
And what did Lisa, another first-time author, think of her book when she first saw it?
No caption is really necessary for this photo, but let's just say she was happy with it.
Lisa's book is the first spiritual wellness book we've produced, and we're happy about the positive response to it and to Lisa's message of health and healing.
This is one of the books that we've produced which have prompted people to come to us and say, "I need this book." Well done, Lisa!
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Ten years ago, I met Mary Harelkin Bishop (a Saskatoon, Saskatchewan teacher and award-winning, prolific author) at a self-publishing workshop in Saskatoon. We became instant friends and have worked together on Mary's books Seeds of Hope: A Prairie Story and Moving Forward: The Journey of Paralympian Colette Bourgonje.
Mary, above left, visited us in July to put the finishing touches on her new children's picture book Gina's Wheels, based on a true story related to a little girl who met Canadian Paralympian Colette Bourgonje.
Mary and I always have fun when we're working together, as you can tell by the big grins on our faces.
When Gina's Wheels arrived from the printers' shop, this was Mary's reaction:
"Just picked up my books. They look wonderful!" she told us.
We're pleased. The book tells a great story with a wonderful lesson of tolerance and acceptance of others. A clerk in a bookstore told us, "This book needs to exist." We heartily agree.
Gina's Wheels was illustrated by Saskatoon artist Diane L. Greenhorn, with chalk drawings. Nice, huh?
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The fifth book we published in the past few months is Jamie and the Monster Bookroom, a children's picture book by Kerry Simpson and Jamie Simpson, illustrated by Regina artist Erika Folnović. It's about a little girl who loves the library and reading, and has a marvelous adventure in one of the rooms of her local library.
Here's the book and bookmark:
And here is how artist Erika Folnović reacted when we showed her the printed book:
... and then happy.
But really, Erika?
That's your reaction?
Come on, girl.
Show us how you really feel about your first illustrated picture book.
There you go.
That's the Erika we know and love!
(Erika also created the cover and inside illustrations of our award-winning humour book Letters to Jennifer from Maudie & Oliver by Sharon Gray, by the way.)
At the launch of Jamie and the Monster Bookroom in Regina, Saskatchewan a few days later, we asked author Kerry Simpson to show us her response when she saw the book for the first time:
Definitely another happy, first-time author.
So there you are, folks. We hope you enjoyed these glimpses into some of the special moments in our publishing lives.
We look forward to adding more of them to our list, as we help authors create more stories for your reading enjoyment.
We invite you to talk to us about how we can help you publish your first book. Check here for more details.
Until then, take care.
P.S. A few days after I posted this blog, we received word that ALL FIVE of these new books received awards in the Great Midwest Book Festival competition in Chicago! We were so excited!
Opening Up: How To Develop Your Intuition and Work With Your Angels by Lisa Driver was the Winner of the Spiritual category!
After the Truck Hit: Jennifer Kuchinka's True Story by Jennifer Kuchinka was awarded Honorable Mention in the Wild Card category.
Homegrown and other poems by Bryce Burnett was awarded Honorable Mention in the Poetry category.
Gina's Wheels by Mary Harelkin Bishop, illustrated by Diane L. Greenhorn, was awarded Honorable Mention in the Children's Books category.
Jamie and the Monster Bookroom by Kerry Simpson with Jamie Simpson, illustrated by Erika Folnović, was awarded Honorable Mention in the Children's Books category.
Congratulations to our authors and illustrators!
These five titles have now joined Seeds of Hope: A Prairie Story by Mary Harelkin Bishop, The Little Coat: The Story of Bob and Sue Elliott by Alan J. Buick, Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope by Deana J. Driver, and Letters to Jennifer From Maudie & Oliver by Sharon Gray in our stable of award-winning books. Not bad for a small publishing house like ours!