Thrilled to announce that my dear friend Patty Banker has finally published her first novel, one she wrote (and I first saw) in 1980. Yes, 37 years it took to reach the public.
In 1980 I had just finished as assistant pastor at a church in Brewer, Maine and was called to pastor the Thorndike Congregational Church in Thorndike (near Unity, Maine). I met Patty and her husband Dick in a cemetery (they were mowing it) and invited them to church. Not long after that, they found out I was a published author and invited me and my wife and daughter to dinner. Dick mentioned that Patty loved to write, but said she had no idea what to do with her work (typed on a manual typewriter). I asked to look at some of her stuff and said I’d get back to her with suggestions.
One of her poems immediately found a home in a religious magazine, so she was suddenly a published author. She even got a couple dollars for it. A PAID published author. That didn’t rock the town, county, or state, and it didn’t get her name in Time Magazine. But her family celebrated. They were very proud. They always knew she had talent, right from the womb (well, maybe not that early).
So Patty risked handing me her novel-in-progress. I took it home (her only copy) and went through it quickly. It had promise. I suggested a couple of revisions and gave her a few agents and publishing houses to query. I told her that her chances were slim – not because it was a bad book, but because there were many good books competing for limited space in the market and on shelves. She got involved in other things – “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans” – and never got around to shopping the manuscript around.
I departed the area in 1983 to pastor a Vermont church. Patty and I stayed in touch. I retired in 2012 and in 2013 moved to Florida, where I started teaching a course at the Lifelong Learning College – Publish Your Book Free (using the Create Space online software system). I helped a few dozen senior learners get their first books into print. My wife Jolyn and I developed an instruction manual (same name as the course) that won a Florida Book Festival Award in the How-to category. My classes and our guidebook had helped make it easy for beginners to publish their work – novels, collections, cookbooks, memoirs, children’s picture books, and more.
Then I remember Patty Banker’s novel manuscript from 1980. I knew that she still wasn’t much into computers and wouldn’t easily get into converting her work into a Word document that could be used as a Create Space interior. And I knew she’d be daunted by the Cover Creator program.
So I contacted her younger sister, Jacquie Ludden, who has secretarial skills. Jacquie agree to type the manuscript as a Microsoft Word document, which she sent to me as an email attachment. I did some basic editing, added headers, footers, pagination, a front title page, and a second-title/copyright page. I reformatted it from 8 1/2 x 11 to 6
x 9 and changed to “mirror margins.” I had Jacquie email me a photo of Patty for the Author Page, a photo of Patty’s late husband Dick for the Dedication Page, and an historic photo of the Thorndike Congregational Church for the cover. I uploaded the manuscript in its new iteration into the Create Space program.
Then I spent a couple of hours on Cover Creator (on the http://www.CreateSpace.com site) and had the system mate the cover and interior. The book was done, so I submitted the files to Create Space for file check and got approval. I proofed the book online and had the book go live. Two days later it appeared on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.com.
I then ordered 25 copies that will arrive at Patty’s mailbox (or front door) around the 29th. Will she ever be thrilled to finally hold her literary baby in her hands!
Sometimes good things take time.