Week in Review: Week 48

Reading Time: 3 minutes

This week I got to participate, vicariously, in a book launch on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP).

Many, if not most, independent authors already know about KDP, which is the dominant platform for indies.

I tried it myself as a possible platform for a collection of short “Living Here” essays, but decided to hold them for a rewrite. So when ShawnaLee Waterbury-Kwashnak, an artist (and now author) friend, asked about quick and professional ways to publish her first book, I suggested KDP. Together we spent two weeks with back-and-forth emails hammering out the final details. In doing so, she learned about book publishing and I learned about art. Win-win.

I also took the opportunity to visit an exhibition of the artist’s works at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby, Connecticut. It’s important for an editor or collaborator to get to know as much as possible about the subject — and the collaborator — as possible. Plus, it’s a good exhibition! It’s open through the end of December.

She submitted the book to KDP late on Wednesday. I was able to order a copy on Friday morning. It arrived at my doorstep Sunday morning before we left for church.

That. Is. Fast.

Because I had already read the 40-page book several times over, I was able to submit a review even before I’d received the book. The review took about three weeks to post, but here it is. Amazon is careful about its reviews and reviewers to avoid stuffing the ballot box. When I know an author, I am always careful to say so. This is the first time I also was a contributor to the book I was reviewing, and I said so. That may be why the Amazon moderators took their time.

(For the record, I gave it 4 stars. It’s a strong first effort, but we were both on a steep learning curve and the subject matter will be mostly of interest to the artist, her students, and their friends and families.)

My copy of “Pandemic Portraiture” arrived on my doorstep early Sunday, less than four days after it was uploaded. It was printed in nearby North Haven, Connecticut.

A different recipe

It’s the second book I’ve edited for a friend. The first was “RECIPES FOR A GOOD RIDE: The Toymaker’s Cafe Cookery Book,” published two years ago by a small press. This was a project by the owners of a small restaurant in northwest Connecticut that was popular with motorcyclists.

That project involved three authors (the two restaurant owners and my friend, a motorcycle and travel writer) and a book designer/typesetter. I was the proofreader, but soon discovered that everyone had a different take on style. So as part of the proofreading process, I made extensive style notes to the typesetter.

That one took about four months from the time I sent the copy to the designer and the time the book arrived in my mailbox (via motorcycle). Everything came out all right in the end, but this was a case of too many cooks spoiling the broth.

In other news this week, I pressed on with my work about the Bubble Wrap back story, which is turning into a series of blog posts. I think I’ve figured out how and approximately when Marc Chavannes and Alfred Fielding first started working together. I also had the fun of writing my father’s biography, with details I had never known.

That project is taking longer than expected, but I have a slight reprieve on my deadline. My interview with The History Channel will now be sometime in January. I should be well-researched and well-rehearsed by then.

In case you missed it

2 thoughts on “Week in Review: Week 48

  1. George said, while I read this without any introduction, “That sounds like Howard Fielding!” Healing through art has been around since the days of the ancient Greeks. The hero Ajax’s wife talks about his thousand yard stare, brought on by the trauma of war after he returned. All varieties of art have therapeutic effects on the brain to produce it; this effect exists across all forms of human artistic expression. The healing comes from when the artist has to evaluate his/her own work, critically. The painter steps back, to gain perspective. The artist has to switch from producing/expressing an experience to analyzing the art work-in-progress, be it a painting, a poem, a dance…whatever the form…in that moment, he can step away from the trauma “then” because to evaluate has to happen in the “now.” That trauma was THEN, this is NOW. Regardless of all other factors, the evaluation of one’s own artistic work has to happen in the NOW. What is Post-Traumatic Stress? Reliving a trauma from the past over and over in the NOW…producing art allows a person to STOP reliving, even if it is just at that moment, and draw distinction from what happened then to what is being evaluated NOW. This is the first step to healing from trauma, to be able to separate the two different times…I was taught in my EMS training. Having known and studied any number of “starving artists” in my lifetime, and witnessed what they edured for the sake of their art, that they MUST get their story “out,” I have come to agree with this training.

  2. Thanks, Celeste! Yes, art has healing properties (unless you’re looking at one of my efforts at visual arts).

    ShawnaLee’s project was in two parts, one teaching students online during lockdown and one during the stressful semi-reopening of schools.

    The “Reflections of Healing” part was particularly interesting. One did a self-portrait of removing her mask, with the masked side in black-and-white and the unmasked side in color.

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