Updated: Oct 28
Artwork by Dena Ackerman, illustrator for Harry Trumfio's upcoming children's book.
Quote of the Month
"You set a high level for yourself, that's why you're down.
That's great. Now go reach that level."
- Monty Williams, Head Coach of the Phoenix Suns
Putting in the Work Behind the Scenes
During an author's journey, there are plenty of moments to feel discouraged. Moments like:
I've got this idea and everything seems so clear in my head... until I sit down at the computer and stare at a blank page.
I described what my book's about and the person across from me scrunched their eyebrows together and said, "Oh, um, sounds... interesting?"
Finished the rough draft, thought it was good, but my friend said it needs a ton of work
Sent my manuscript in for editing, got it back covered in red ink
Just like the Monty Williams' clip above, we think authors get down on themselves because they set a high level for their work. If they didn't, they'd just publish their rough draft and call it a day. They wouldn't go through all the extra work to make it the best version of their story.
This month, we're showcasing four of our authors who are putting in hard work behind the scenes. These authors spent a lot of time on their first drafts, they're humbly accepting notes and feedback in the revision process, and they've set a high bar for their artwork and final book design.
The result? Four professional, meaningful books that we can't wait to publish later this year/early 2022.
Harry Trumfio's Children's Book: Dad, Our Own Candy Man
We loved working with Vicki Sheaffer and Kristie Kaiser Frudden on their children's book, Oh Mother How Funny. When you pair a great writer with a great artist, and the two are in-sync with a shared vision for the book, great things happen.
What we wondered afterward, though, is how could we recreate this type of process for an author who wasn't close friends with a professional illustrator. An author who says, "I've got the book written" or, "I've got an idea for a children's book, I just don't know any children's book artists."
Enter the story of, "Dad, Our Own Candy Man." The author, Harry Trumfio, is part of the Barrington Writer's Workshop (Barrington is a suburb of Chicago). He reached out with his rough draft, looking for an illustrator. We went on LinkedIn, saw these amazing illustrations shared by Dena Ackerman. Reached out to see if she was interested/available for a children's book project.
Couple emails, phone calls, and Zoom calls later, we've got Long Overdue in Chicago working with an author in the Chicago suburbs and an illustrator way over in Israel -- all complete strangers as of a year ago -- bringing a children's book to life.
The easier route would've been to find some stock images to pair with the text. But Harry is aiming higher for his book and, with a little luck from our LinkedIn newsfeed, we found the perfect artist for the job. Harry's continuing to work on revisions while Dena finishes up her custom illustrations.
Safe Landing: A Family's Journey
Following the Crash of American Airlines Flight 191
We shared more about this incredible story back in our May Newsletter, but here's a quick recap + update on where the project is at.
Kim Jockl, Melody Smith, and Jim Borchers lost their mom and dad on American Airlines Flight 191 back in 1979. Over the last 40+ years, the three have been on a journey recovering from this tragedy, rebuilding their lives, and leading the charge to create a Memorial site for those lost in the crash. For the last several years, they've met every Thursday to assemble their inspirational story into a first draft of a book.
The vision is to do two versions of their book: one for family and one for the public. The family version has more photos, more in-depth details, and will be printed hardcover. The public version has a little different flow to the chapters and printed as a paperback.
Talk about putting in the work! Kim, Melody, and Jim signed up for our "Feedback Circle" class where they picked three of their friends + two of our readers (Michele Popadich and Lauren Silverman). The Feedback Circle reads through the book, answers questions from the authors, and shares ideas and notes to help improve the work.
From there, we moved the manuscript onto "Final Draft." Our Creative Director, Annie Leue, got to work building the family version of the book. Long Overdue Books wouldn't be possible without Annie's artistic eye and expertise creating books.
Kim, Jim, and Melody are simultaneously reviewing the family book and working on additions/revisions to their public book. They're planning a big family celebration in early September, for the grand reveal of their book.
(Plus one more surprise in September that we're not quite ready to share yet... Stay tuned...)
They've put so much work into both versions of their book. It's been an honor to be part of their story and we look forward to bringing these books across the finish line.
Martin Blackbriar Series: Book 1
Looking back, we're not 100% sure how this connection happened. But we're glad it did!
We think it all tied back to a post we made on the Hope College English Department blog. Logan Tomaszewski (Hope grad) reached out shortly after this and shared the rough draft for his book: Martin Blackbriar & The Necronomicon.
Logan also signed up for Feedback Circle to take his book from rough draft to completed manuscript.
There was this really cool moment during Feedback Circle when we had Logan (Hope Grad), his friends Lauren Postma and B. Jung (Hope Grad, Hope Grad), Chris O'Brien (Hope Grad), and Annie Cerovich (Hope Grad) all working together (we also had Katie Palazzolo from our team, who we'll say is an honorary Hope grad). It was like a Hope College Creative Writing class broke out in the middle of this project.
From there, Logan made revisions and is using our "Final Draft" class/service. This is to go from the manuscript to a final edited manuscript ready for print. Rebecca Iungerich is doing artwork for the book (shoutout to Rebecca for the artwork above) and then Annie Leue will turn it all into a final book. Our goal is to have this book available for sale later this fall/early November.
And then it's back to work with Book 2 in the Martin Blackbriar series.
The Black & Caspian Cookbook
Photo from this feature story in the Chicago Tribune