With A Little Help From My Friends

Although I finished the last page of Uptown Girl about six weeks ago, I don’t feel like it’s all over.  In the weeks since I’ve been prepping the book for printing.  This was a bit of a scramble as I needed to have the book back from the printer in early May in order for it to be ready for MSP ComicCon on May 20th and 21st.  The prep work is a group effort in reality.  I count on my friends for this.  I have been working with two really excellent proofreaders, Kristin and Antony, for the past few books and of course my friend Ben who has taken my drawings and turned them into beautiful covers.  I am very lucky to have such excellent friends with these talents.  They make my work better and I cannot possibly thank them enough.

After I finished the book, I sent the cover to Ben.  The cover took about five tries to get right.  It was hard to come up with an idea that really represented the feel of the book yet didn’t give away too much.  Normally I would post the earlier versions but I still think they are too spoilery.  I sent the cover to Ben and received the final version a week or so ago.  As usual, a expected, Ben did an amazing job.  Even after years of collaborating he never fails to make my jaw drop.  Gaze upon his work:


The idea here was to add stuff that would make people wonder what the heck is going on.  What’s with Rocketman’s helmet?  Who is that dashing photographer?  How does the mayor from the second book tie into this?  What is up with that fish?  What does the Walrus have to do with this story?  And why are all the main characters separated from each other..?

The final few pages of Uptown Girl – A Longforgotten Fairytale may provide some clues.

I love this cover and I am amazed at what Ben did with the original drawing:


While Ben worked his magic, I printed off the book and sent to Kristin and Antony.  This was nerve-wracking, to be honest.  I had worked on this story for over two years and now someone was going to have to read it.  Not only did I have the pressure of doing a good book, I also had the pressure of creating a satisfying end to 13 years of Uptown Girl’s adventures.  I was encouraged and relieved by Kristin’s initial feedback:

That was amazing! Thank you for taking us along for the ride. Love the ending so much.

Thank God.  The final scene and the conversation had there was really written about three years ago.  I was determined to use it and I as pleased that it was still appropriate for the story.

I soon received a fat packet in the mail with countless Post-It Notes pointing out typos, missing words and needed Oxford commas.  I got to work correcting these errors.  Any misspellings and grammatical errors are mine and mine alone as I may have missed a correction.  I printed off a second copy of the book with the corrections, double checked all the pages were in the right order and delivered it to the printer.  I should have the proof this week.  I’ll review this weekend and make revisions as needed and then approve the proof.  A week or so after the proof is approved, the final book will be ready.

I think when the book is placed on my shelf next to the others will be when I have that sense of finality.  There will be nothing more that needs to be done.  No typos to fix, no panels to redraw, no new stories to tell.

I’m not ready to say a final goodbye quite yet.  I’m sure once the book is next to the others on the shelf I’ll blog a little retrospective and look back on the years but I’m not ready to do that quite yet.

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