Thursday, July 27, 2006


call from Morris Publishing stating that my books were ready for shipment and that I need to contact them regarding the final installment. I called back but the office was called so I left a message giving them authorization to charge the balance. The final cost was: $968.00.

MEANWHILE, I HAVE been working on the marketing/promotion aspect, including:
1) Press release
2) Press kit
3) Book Party
4) Invitations to Events (2006 Barrio Art Fest)
5) Postcards
6) Possible lecture/workshop on self-publishing

THIS SELF-PUBLISHING business is no joke.

e-mail from Morris confirming my books are scheduled to be delivered by Friday, July 28—tomorrow! I have to remember to leave the UPS guy a note because he’s been known to not ring the doorbell or knock hard enough in the past. I’m so-o-o excited!

IN OTHER PUBLISHING news, I got an e-mail from my new agent telling me the contracts are on the way—YAY!

SCHOOL NEWS: THE semester is almost over – woo-hoo! I have one more paper to go (10 pages), a presentation (eww! dreading that), and a book critique. All in all, this second semester hasn’t been that bad, despite my earlier complaints. The professors seemed just as anxious as we were to get the semester over with.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


[Me posing on my son's car, 4th of July, 2006]

message from the NY agent. Wouldn’t you know this was the day I left my cell phone at home—AND it was on “silent”? The message stated that she was sorry she’s been out of touch and that things were crazy at the office, but productive and she still wants to talk to me. I tried to call her back but I got her voice mail so I left a message.

wondering why “my” agent hasn’t contacted me, she called today just as my lunch hour was starting. She began by apologizing for being out of touch & insisted she’s a very hands-on agent, but it’s their busy submission season. It turns out she’s not really in NY, she runs the LA office, which is intricately connected to the San Fran & NY offices; she’s only in NY for about 35% of her time. She talked about the agency, about her books, her husband, about her vision for the authors she represents, particularly the ethnic authors. I told her about ITPIHOY’s odyssey and “history of rejection” and she didn’t seem fazed at all. She talked about the boom in Latino lit and how it’s going to really change in the next five years. We talked (mostly her) for my entire lunch hour, which was nice.

SHE'S VERY DOWN-to-earth, very straightforward. I like the fact that she’s an author and that her husband is one, because she knows where I’m coming from. I like the fact that she represents many Latino and other ethnic authors and she’s passionate about representing them. I like the fact that she said she views the agent-client as a real relationship and that if there’s anything I need, if I feel I’m not hearing from her, all I have to do is shoot her an e-mail.

AS WE’RE TALKING, she got a call on her other phone from one of the authors I met down at the Chica Lit Club Fiesta (who lives in CA), whose novel just came out last month. They made plans for lunch while I listened jealously on my end (I skipped lunch today), dreaming of the day I’ll get to go to LA & meet her, hopefully to “do lunch with my agent.”

ALL IN ALL, I felt good about our conversation. She’s very expressive, and she had a lot of helpful suggestions on how to improve ITPIHOY, which I liked, and I’m already thinking about how I can make it better.

I’M SUPPOSED TO be getting a contract in the mail and she said that we’re looking at early to mid-September as far as submitting ITPIHOY to different publishers. Can you hear the bidding wars? (LOL!)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


MY EFFORTS TO document my journey into self-publishing step-by-step have been hampered by everyday events. As much as I’ve tried to document everything, it’s been impossible because I find that time is passing by so quickly—so much to do, so little time. I’m behind in my reading in school (ditched a couple of classes--horrors!), I have about two assignments I haven’t done, my house is a mess, and I’m inundated at work.

04.28.06 – I APPLIED FOR the Copyright and ISBN on line. The fees were $30.00, less than Morris Publishing charges.

06.24.06 – I MAILED OFF the application for the copyright application, along with a draft, bounded copy of the manuscript to the Library of Congress. The fee was $30.00.

06.26.06 – I SUBMITTED THE manuscript to Morris Publishing—WOO-HOO! Thanks to my favorite cousin and all-around great guy, Luis, who has the Adobe Writer software on his computer, I was able to use the company’s instructions on how to create a PDF file, and send the file electronically (the wonders of the computer age) before sending the hard copy. For this, Luis gets a free copy of the book (this is the only free copy I’m giving out; everybody else is going to have to pay this time around).

SINCE I COULDN’T understand the on-line application process regarding the UPC bar code, I’m having Morris apply for me ($20.00).

07.03.06 – TODAY, I RECEIVED the cover proof of my book (the one above is the preliminary one I did on my own) and the page proofs via FedEx. I had received an e-mail message telling me that the package had been sent on 6/30/06 so I thought I was going to miss the FedEx guy, but instead of leaving a note telling me he would return, he stuffed it (literally) into my mailbox; I could hardly get it out. The manuscript wasn’t damaged and I should’ve been miffed, but I was just glad I wouldn’t have to wait an additional day.

I FOUND THREE minor errors, which I should have caught before submitting the book, considering how many times I looked at the manuscript. But nevertheless, I have a chance to correct them before the book is actually printed. There is a fee of $1.00 per page, which isn’t bad. I have to return the proofs in three days.

ALL IN ALL, I’m very pleased with the cover, considering that even with a traditional publisher you have no say-so in the cover design. Although the cover is a “stock” design, it looks good with my title on it, and I feel like I had “choice” in the cover. The only error was that they didn’t italicize Boricua Morena. I showed it off to some of my family members at our 4th of July barbeque and they liked it, for the most part. Ordinarily, a major publisher will ask you not to show the cover to anyone because they’re afraid someone may “steal” the concept. It’s quite possible that someone may use the same cover for their book, but that’s the chance you take when you use a stock cover. I’m still excited.

07.06.07 – I SENT THE cover and page proofs back to Morris via UPS Next Day. I didn’t ask for a second proof because if I do, I know I will find more errors and at this point, it just isn’t that serious. If I decide to publish it with a small press later on, they can edit it then.

IN OTHER NEWS, I heard from the NY agent and I thought we had an appointment for a phone conference last Friday (06/30/06), but we didn’t connect. She’s interested in why the book didn’t sell the first time, but she said she’s had stuff that wasn’t accepted so this isn’t a problem. Wait ‘til I tell her that this is actually the second time it didn’t sell and that this is a ten-year odyssey.