Post # 202
August 2, 2019
A Road Map to Create Your Book
Star Signs: New and Selected Poems
By Lynda McKinney Lambert
Published July 15, 2019
Let’s take a tour of my newest book.
I think of a book as a landscape that we can walk through.
Let’s begin with the beautiful image on the book’s cover.
The book is a creation by many different people.
Yes, as the author, I wrote the book and selected everything that is in it.
But once I did the writing, the book was sent off to DLD books, and that is where David and Leonore Dvorkin began to do their magic on it, too.
Leonore is the editor, and David is the technical director – he’s the one who puts everything it its proper place. But decisions are made by all of us as we go through the process of creating a book.
We have a shared vision for how the book should look and how it should be designed. When I say “we” I am usually referring to the Dvorkins and me, as we worked together on the book.
~Book Cover ~
Our book cover has to have an image that attracts the eye of a potential reader.
The first thing you are aware of when you see a book, is the cover. Immediately, you know if you like it or if you don’t. If the cover is appealing, then you will pick up the book and open the first page to have a look at the inside.
As we created the book, the cover was the last thing that was selected.
I had the idea that I wanted a rural landscape with trees, a stream and a star strewn sky.
When Leonore Dvorkin found this photo, we instantly knew it was perfect.
James WHEELER, a photographer, created the photo that Leonore found on Pexels.
WHEELER’S original photo was too large for the cover size, so David and Leonore selected a detail from the photo and it fit perfectly. That was an exciting day when we finalized the cover image! Every time I hold this new book in my hands, I whisper a “thank you” to the wonderful photographer who captured this breathless night scene.
~Pre-Publication Endorsements ~
Once you get your draft to the place where you have your poems in place where you want them, you can begin to ask some other people who are respected in the writing field to write a blurb – or an endorsement – for your book and for your promotion of the book once it is published.
I asked 2 authors to write an endorsement that would be inside the book. The 2 blurbs are by Tennessee poet, Wesley D. Sims, and New York author, Annie Chiappetta. The 2 writings are featured on a page just inside the front cover.
An excerpt from Wesley D Sims is a special highlight on the BACK COVER.
In addition, several others wrote pre-publication endorsements that I will use in promoting the book after publication. All writers are my personal friends.
~Table of Contents~
The Table of Contents is a ROAD MAP to help a reader find the items in the book.
Every aspect of the book is listed in this section, in chronological order from beginning to end of the book.
Be prepared to spend so much time on this part of the book! It may seem endless once you begin creating it – because you will move different pieces of the book around once you begin and that will change the order of the listings in the Table of Contents every time you make a tiny change. I made an enormous amount of changes right up to the `last day of preparation before the book was published.
~The Dedication Page~
Choose someone you want to honor by writing a Dedication Page for them.
I chose a high school English teacher and his wife for this Dedication. Both are deceased, but both were an important part of my academic life as a young girl, and they were life-long friends through the years.
I wanted the Foreword to be written by an editor who has published my poems in his literary magazine and immediately, I thought of Michael Northen, editor of Wordgathering. To my delight, he agreed to do it and I was thrilled that he did.
You will find that you have so much respect for the editors you work with in the different publications, that you feel so honored when they agree to help you in this way.
~Divide your book into parts~
Since this is my 3rd book, I realized that I have a pattern for putting together a collection of work. I was not too aware of that fact until after I completed the 3rd book. What I will describe next, is really the skeleton on which I build the book. Other writers may do it completely different than me. That is ok, because we all have a vision of how we want our book to look. What I will describe next, is my personal vision for all 3 of my books.
~Select a Photo to Begin Each Part~
I am a visual artist and even though I have profound sight loss, I still highly value photographs and other art forms. I want strong visuals in all of my books. After all, my entire life-long career has been in the Fine Arts. I am still the same person I’ve always been. Because I lost my sight does not mean I have lost my VISION.
I am a visionary – one who dreams
awake or asleep
I select a photo or art work that will be the opening visual statement for each part in the book. I chose an image that would reflect an idea or theme in the first poem for that section. People really enjoy the photos and I get compliments on my choices. In most instances, they are my own photos. I list the source of the photos to give credit for each of them and I give each photo a title which is printed below that photo.
~How I create different parts~
First, I select a theme for my entire book.
My theme is always discovered in one of my poems!
There is a particular poem that just stands out, for me, and I keep thinking of that poem so much that it seems to rise to the surface of my thoughts. Eventually, I realize that poem will be my opening poem, and the theme for my book is there in that poem.
For Star Signs: New and Selected Poems, I began with the poem, “Star Signs.”
This poem is the entry way into my collection.
It was FIRST PUBLISHED in 2016, by Wordgathering Literary Magazine. In addition to the print version of the poem, there is also a voice recording of Melissa Cotter, who is reading my poem. I love to listen to Melissa read my poems, for she brings them to life with her interpretations.
When I heard her reading my poem, it was as though I never heard it before. Her reading was so beautiful that I listened to it so many times. She gave it a magic that thrilled me when I heard her voice.
From the poem, “Star Signs,” I selected an image for the opening of Part 1 of the book.
Once I decided on that first part, then I moved on and selected 3 other poems that would open the section of Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
I used a line from the opening poem, for each section –
~I’ve listed the 4 Parts of the Book and the PHOTO INTRODUCTION to each part~
~Part 1 – Lights Across the Sky~
~Part 2 – Distant Legends and Metaphors~
~Part 3 – Transmutation of Earthy Elements~
~Part 4 – For Seasons, Days, and Years~
For poetry, you will cite only the “first publisher” of that particular poem or essay.
Here is where good record keeping is important. If I did not keep good archives of my publications, I could never do this important piece of the book.
I keep detailed records of every individual piece of writing in a file that I update monthly.
In another file I keep the publication history of every published work.
In a third file, I keep the publication history by year.
You will need to know all of this to create your Acknowledgments Page.
Believe me – this page will change so much during the editing of the book that your head might begin to spin. Leonore and I labored over this page and the Table of Contents Page for many days throughout the entire process of creating the book.
~Meet the Author~
Here is where you will have a photo of yourself as the author of the book.
In addition, this is where you will write a biography of your professional life.
For this book, since it is a collection of new and selected poems, I wanted to share the roots of my publication life – I put my first professionally published poem in this section so my readers could enjoy seeing that first poem that motivated me to continue on the writing path back in 1990.
That poem also gives the reader the information about what is important to me as a person who loves art and poetry that spans the centuries. It establishes me as an author who loves history, mythology, the Classics, and setting work in the historical context.
This is something I never did before, but I had some additional professional recognitions that I wanted to share with my readers. I cited some international anthologies my work appeared in; a book that was published in recognition of fiber artists who have disabilities; and listed some honours I was awarded in the past year. I did this as a way of showing my appreciation for these opportunities.
~The Back Cover~
The back cover is just as important as the Front Cover.
It has to look appealing and it should carry information about the book.
For Star Signs: New and Selected Poems, we decided to put a quote from the endorsement that Wesley D. Sims wrote.
Below that quote, we wanted to put a poem that was appealing.
We chose “Painting in Mid-October” for the back cover.
It fit perfectly.
Below the text is a small head shot of me – the Author of the book.
It is a detail view of the black and white photo of me which we used for the “About the Author” section. I really like this photo because it shows me wearing a hand-knit jacket that I created and I am seated in my Zen Meditation Garden, in front of the Tamukeyama Tree which is as it’s peak in brilliant hot pink/red blazing colour.
I created this road map for a book of poetry.
This works for me – and I am pleased to share it today.
I hope you find it helpful when you are beginning to design your own book.
Copyright 2019. Lynda McKinney Lambert. All Rights Reserved.
Created for the Sizzling Summer Super Book Release Party Event,
August 3, 2019.
I will present this information and speak with our guests from 1 to 2 pm that day.
YOU can WIN a PRINT COPY of my book:
Star Signs: New and Selected Poems
1_Read this article.
2_Write a comment about the picture of the girl holding something in her hands.
What do you think this girl is doing in the photo?
What do you think this photo says about the girl and the book of poetry?
3_After you LIKE this page, and Comment – Please SHARE on your Social Media site.
This will QUALIFY you to be in my drawing.
I’ll draw the LUCKY WINNER of the BOOK on August 10th.
Please share the happiness.
I love you for that!