AJ’s Neighborhood: Release Postponed

Last week we made the decision to push back the release date on AJ’s Neighborhood. Here’s some of what happened:

When Amanda and I originally began discussing the book, I imagined a much shorter amount of time for her to complete the illustrations. If I had my way, the book would have come on in January 2021, but that was just unrealistic. After researching and talking with Amanda, we agreed to a schedule that was more realistic, but ultimately would have meant the book was coming out as soon as humanly possible.

Then in May, our printer/distributer, IngramSpark, announced that due to covid, they were increasing printing times for all books and said they also anticipated shipping delays. The said that printing hardcovers would not take 15 business days. A week later, they increased it to 25 business days.

More recently, in August, I had a very stressful month in which my husband was out of town for a week, leaving me to parent solo. This was followed by a couple of weeks of sickness and quarantine for everyone in my house. In the midst of this I was trying to get our galley copies of AJ’s Neighborhood out to be reviewed, while also preparing a sermon that I preached at my church at the end of the month. Basically, the whole month was CRAZY. Amanda was also very busy finishing her semester of grad school and then traveling. We had planned to have everything ready to start printing by September 1st, but there were still things that needed to be done, and we both we busy dealing with other things.

Then, I had some technical issues with our ISBN and login stuff for the IngramSpark website. It’s all boring but also meant delays beyond what we originally expected.

So a couple of weeks ago, I sat down and looked at the calendar. I looked at the new printing times we were dealing with, looked at how much work we still needed to finish the interior of the book, and looked at shipping costs and turn around times. There simply was no way to guarantee that any books would be shipped on time for the release event we have planned, and if books were shipped, there was no way to guarantee that everything would look the way it is supposed to.

So (after a meltdown) I talking things over with Amanda and the folks at India Street Press. We all agreed that we want the book to come out when it is as perfect as we can make it, and that it was worth it to push back the release date to make sure that can happen. The only negatives to delaying was that the book would not be available for holiday shopping, and also that my perfectionist brain would need to get over itself. That last one is also a positive.

So here we are. I was recently reminded by author Corie Skolnick that writers need to be the CEO of their career and it so true. I was in a prayer group recently where someone said they phrase, “Be a good boss to yourself.” Both those thoughts were echoing in my head as I tried to decide whether we should rush the book out or postpone. It helped to remember that as CEO, I am responsible for putting out a good product that we all can be proud of. And I realized that as being a good boss to myself meant realizing that the original time-tables were maybe overly optimistic, and that it would do no good to put me and Amanda through the stress of trying to meet them when I had the power to change it. So that’s what we did.

I know that ultimately, anyone out there who is anticipating this book is likely a friend or family member, so they will be happy and supportive of the book no matter when it comes out. We really have lost nothing in that sense. I also felt very vindicated to see that other well-known authors have announced their books being delayed until next summer for the same supply chain / covid delays that I am facing. If they can’t guarantee their books on time then who could?

A new release date will be announced soon–probably shortly after Amanda and I get our hands on our first proof and can evaluate where things are at.

In the meantime, we are finishing layout for AJ’s Neighborhood. I am still working on finishing my second book about international food (hopefully we can hear more about that soon). And looks like I will be preaching another sermon at my church in the near future. Plus I have Halloween costumes for the kids to make, and a 2nd birthday party for my daughter to plan.

Someone once asked me how I get everything done, the writing stuff and the mom stuff. The answer is: I DON’T! The house is not always cleaned. Sometimes the kids get too much screen time. Writing deadlines get missed. I know I can work on balancing things better, or being more organized, but this is life. As I am fond of saying to my husband, “I am just a human woman.” I can only be in one place at a time, and I can’t always do more than one thing at a time. It’s not a bad thing, it’s just a human thing.

So we will wait a little longer for this book to come out, with all hope and confidence that it will be worth the wait.