Saturday, 17 October 2015

Here at last

The book is finally available online, here.

As you may know by now, my younger sister (let me call her Sister 3) is my publisher. I’m at Sister 2’s place this weekend, so Sister 3 sent me a proof copy of the book to look at (via Sister 2's address) and give my approval. I spent yesterday reviewing it and was happy with it, so she has made it available on the internet.

I realize that this might be a barrier for those of us based in African countries, so I also plan to print copies in Kenya. I understand that the use of Kindle is pretty popular in Nigeria, so we'll experiment with that as well, in addition to trying to make a few hard copies available. 

It has been quite a journey. Many of you will remember that I really expected this book to be out by around January 2013. January 2013 turned to September 2013, then to December 2013, then to the first quarter of 2014 … You get the picture.

When a lightbulb finally went off for me and I asked Sister 3 if her company (Story She Wrote Media) would be interested in publishing the book for me, we were already in 2015.   

The process of working with my sister to get this book out has been really interesting. We have quarreled, laughed half to death, ‘kept malice’ temporarily, made up, bickered, and made up again. It’s been absolutely hilarious! You think you know your sister, and you do – but if you’ve never actually worked with your sister professionally, then there’s a side of your sister that you do not know at all. I’m sure I’m describing not just my experience here, but hers as well. I don’t think Sister 3 was prepared for the fact that I’m so detail-oriented when it comes to certain things. I can understand her unpreparedness because, when it comes to most things in life, I’m one of the most laid-back people you’ll ever meet. I’m not big on formalities or even too much structure. But with certain things (with my work, specifically), I can be pretty anal. That’s one area in which the Melancholic, perfectionist side of my Phlegmatic-Melancholic self emerges – and it’s not pretty.

I obsessed over the font style and size, over the chapter embellishments (which Sister 3 said no one would notice, anyway – and she’s probably right), over the formatting, over the BOOK COVER. I remember reading a blog post (?) by Abidemi Sanusi in which she mentioned that no author is ever really satisfied with their final book cover (or something like that). I now fully understand what she meant. I had the ‘perfect’ book cover in mind, and despite detailed descriptions and several iterations, I never quite felt like the book cover designer really ‘got’ it. I stopped obsessing when Sister 3 mentioned that I could either have a book cover that makes potential book-buyers think it’s a ‘Mountain of Fire’ prayer book (not quite what I was going for, though prayer is important!), or I could have a book cover that a wider variety of potential book-buyers will actually look at a second time, pick up, and hopefully buy. My initial thought was that the final version of the book cover didn’t look ‘serious’ enough, and was therefore sort of misleading and didn’t really represent the ‘essence’ of what the book is about (bla-bla-bla). Sister 3 couldn’t disagree more. (Now you see why she published one book a year ago, and has another one pretty much done, while it’s taken me years to churn one out). Over time, I made my peace with it. I was mentally exhausted and just wanted to get things over with at first. Eventually, the cover sort of grew on me and I was able to accept it without judgement. Let me know what you think – seriously.

As I keep saying, sometimes things don’t go as planned. But, so what? I’m learning (not just through this book journey, but through so many other events that have occurred in my life) not to get caught up in the perfect ‘plan.’ The bottom line is that there is always a usually unseen ‘Plan’ that remains consistent, just as the Planner intended. So, when the perfect ‘plan’ doesn’t quite pan out, I’m getting much better at not being discouraged. But rather, doing all that I can do with what I’ve got.

This train of thought has led me to go back and read several different versions of Ecclesiastes 11:1-6. I’ll only share The Living Bible version with you, though. Here it is:

Give generously, for your gifts will return to you later. Divide your gifts among many, for in the days ahead you yourself may need much help. When the clouds are heavy, the rains come down; when a tree falls, whether south or north, the die is cast, for there it lies. If you wait for perfect conditions, you will never get anything done. God’s ways are as mysterious as the pathway of the wind and as the manner in which a human spirit is infused into the little body of a baby while it is yet in its mother’s womb. Keep on sowing your seed, for you never know which will grow – perhaps it all will.


As for the contents of the book, I’ve mentioned before that the book is simply made up of most of the blogposts from 2012 and a few from 2013, most of which are no longer available on the blog. Quite a number of the posts/essays have been enhanced a bit, based on advice from the structural editor.

Thank you to all the rmj blog readers for reading all this while, and for putting up with my lengthy periods of silence. Do spread the word however you can. You probably know of a few women who would find Strange Women useful – a few men, too! Please point them to it.

Thank you, C. C. Adetula of Story She Wrote Media. I’m proud of you and blessed to have been able to work with you.