This book has been in the works for over two years! In 2013, as I was finishing my walking project, being asked what I was going to do next was asked often. Usually the next line was, “Are you going to write a book?” At the time I just assumed it was going to happen. “Of course I’ll write a book,” I would confidently offer. Never did I realize how overwhelmingly complicated that would be. First, I was held up because I couldn’t decide on a title. “I can’t write, I don’t have a title,” I would tell my husband. At some point, after being asked over and over, I finally decided to push beyond that. A title would come. Or it already came. Then my other complication stemmed from being so busy managing a hopping event space in REO Town, participating on their board for 4 years, and helping host event after event, that I didn’t have time to write.
Two years ago, I made the heart aching decision to close down AA Creative Corridor to dedicate more time to my photography and writing this book, and that did that trick! That summer I was able to begin the dedicated writing process. The words flowed from me, which was nice, but the story was huge, like 95,000 words huge! I was having a hard time finding direction for the story. Should it be chronological, themed, or both? In the end, after creating a list of every blog I made, taking notes on the process, creating a timeline, reevaluating the photos I took (It was amazing how much having the photos helped me remember), and finally an outline, I was able to put together an intriguing story. From there I began the editing process. The whole time I was also researching publishing, editing, editors, and everything I would need to bring this story to life. My first thought was I would use Amazon just like all the other self published authors I knew. I checked out the publishing site, and although complicated, I thought it was relatively uncomplicated. Through their publishing site I could do Direct Orders and with the proceeds have copies made as I could. Those would be soft cover, pre-sized, books. And I was fine with that.
As I moved through the editing process I knew I would need people to read the book through–my beta readers. These would be entry folks who would notice continuity flaws, typing errors, repeat of story (which I was having a hard time with), and accuracy of details. It was early October 2018, and I couldn’t wait to hear back from these close family and friends. By November, I hadn’t heard a peep from any of them. My husband was slowly working through the book and bringing me edits about once a week, but that was it! No one was reading it for me. So I sought out more editors. This time I decided to pick people I knew had written books, as well as published. They knew the system. They knew how to edit. And they were very eager to read my book! One of these editors was so thorough, he’s actually now considering adding professional editor to his resume. He fact checked, he helped organize my thoughts, he pointed out where something wasn’t quite working, and it was a perfect reevaluation of what I had already written. The other beta readers were also coming in with similar responses. This was happening!
By early spring of 2019 I had reread the book at least 15 times. I was mentioning it to people who hadn’t heard about my walking project, and they were excited to hear about it. I had a list of people who had already told me they couldn’t wait to buy the book, and it was about 100 people! At one point, while attending an event on Michigan Ave, we ran into the new mayor of Lansing. A friend was with us and he boldly told the mayor about my walking project and that I had a book coming out about it. The mayor then said, let me know when it’s out and I’ll buy your first copy. Without thinking, I said, I already have a whole bunch of people ahead of you, but I’ll definitely let you know when it’s ready! After he left me husband looked at me and said, “Did you just tell the mayor to take a number?” I felt so badly, but yes, I had in fact told the mayor of Lansing to take a number!
One of the notions that began to form from those reading the book so far was that it needed to be published in hard cover. Hard cover is a different self publishing animal. They felt it was such an extraordinary book, one that would be sought after for schools, local museums, visitor centers, libraries, and such, that it needed to be durable and hardbound. From the research I had done, I knew making it hard cover was going to be more complicated and more expensive. Again, I began researching. There are multiple sites that create hard cover books, with the best being Ingram Sparks. I was also beginning to put together the companion photo book, as many of the stories talked about in the memoir referenced back to a photograph. Through Blurb I was able to create the photo book and link it to Ingram Sparks.
I really am still forming a publishing game plan, but I feel that having the pre-order payments will get me through the last leg. The books are done, they only need to printed at this point. There’s a few fees associated with that, like buying an ISBN number for each book and set up fees for Ingram Sparks. Easy enough!
Last night I launched my Kickstarter campaign. I have one month, 30 days, to raise the funds needed to print out these books. I was so scared last night to click go, but again, friends came through late into the evening offering support, and I did it! I clicked that big green launch button. This morning I woke up to four books purchased! My mental goal is 50 of each sold. There are some other great rewards, though, if having the books isn’t what you’re looking for. Here’s the link for the Kickstarter City Saunter Book Campaign. Please share with anyone you know that may be interested in a good book about Lansing, growing up here, watching it develop into what it is now, and a project about walking all the streets in Lansing. It’s a good read. The photo book will be one of a kind as well!
Thank you for supporting this project!