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First Book Struggles - Monica V McCormick

Updated: Jul 10, 2018

In 2009, my first book was given a name and it became Poisoned Touch. Every day I would look at my card holder that read Poisoned Heart Productions which I had made in 2006 in hopes that someday that would be the name of my company if I ever had the opportunity to make my dream a reality.


By 2010 Poisoned Touch was looking much better yet it was obvious to have illustrations on each page not just most of them. That way the flow of the book would be better balanced.

In 2011 I was finally able to buy a new computer and was so stoked to put in the memory cards to transfer things from one computer to the newest one, yay!!!! <—yup, sarcasm! Going from PC to a MAC = wrong format so… I had to retype it all in AGAIN! Yes, I felt like I was going to lose my mind.


By 2012 I tried signing up for a self-publishing company that I thought had my best interest at heart. Kept giving them money to pursue my dreams of being a published Author without having to deal with as much of the business aspect of things so I could concentrate on home life and focus on marriage plans etc. As the year went on the self-publishing company got bossier, demanding certain things as I kept talking with them and sending 10-15 pages of the poems so they could see the flow. I kept asking about the conventions thinking that the funds I was paying would go towards us having a booth that could fit all the artists involved. Picking a spot at each convention where our booth would be for a book tour through conventions because I have always enjoyed working the circuit when helping at past conventions. I was also putting aside funds for all of us to travel to the conventions etc. At the end of 2013 and 3 representatives later I finally found out that the funds I was giving them were just to have my book listed in their brochure per convention. I immediately stopped trying to pursue things with that company, since they had supposedly recorded every conversation yet never corrected me on things just to get more money out of me.


In early 2014 I wrote a strongly worded letter since that company would not call me back. Gave them my points of view with specific dates on payments and chats that were never said until way too late that everything I was planning for was a lie. I never heard back, never got a refund, and never trusted a self-publishing company again.


After months of being depressed at hitting another dead end, I asked my friends to keep drawing with the book art because we were going to finish up the last 40 drawings. With my friends having real jobs and other responsibilities it was a time-consuming process but we’d buy different programs for them to learn and a few other friends helped out with some of the art from time to time to help speed it along.


We had 150+ drawings to make for the book in addition to all the other drawings to fit on the corresponding pages. Poisoned Touch now has over 200 drawings that were all laid in properly. I am glad I saw Wayne work his magic to see how every drawing was shaped, polished while zoomed in, the overlays, fonts, fitted and mastered while then being vectored to become what it is now completed.


Font frustrations. This was so much fun! <—recognize the sarcasm. I believe we started laying the words with the drawings in 2010 and were finished in 2012. Why you might be asking? Couldn’t pick the fonts until the illustrations were completed so it’d make the fonts feel like they were representing the pages properly especially since it would change the feel of the poems and stories to better suit its needs.


Wayne’s frustrations, saving images and his computer wiping them out on weeks’ worth of drawings. Laptop dying. Screen freezing so hours of work down the drain. Rosie moved and couldn’t remember where her art books went so she had to redraw a few but turned out just as good as the originals.


Had a manager “representing me” that took my money and didn’t do anything but research conventions I had already researched. Just because someone rewords things does not make it any different from work already done. Let that person go, especially because managers aren’t supposed to get paid until you make money so I got taken on another ride.


We worked on a few children’s books from 2013 - 2015 for someone we trusted that drew some of the images. That 7-year friendship ended for good reasons so… Rosie and Wayne had to restart on those drawings and they turned out better than all the originals. I believe it was a blessing in disguise.


By 2016 things were finished but we went back to the fonts and some free ones were gone. "NNNOOOOO!!!!" Yup. Had to search for more to reassign and fix the sizes of the pages. This happened at least 5 times that year.


2017 I was able to finally build my business and make it official by June to be an LLC all run legit & happily with a staff I know very well to keep creating dreams to become reality. At the end of the year, we had added a few new things to the book, checked it and got them printed. Yay! <— no. Missed a few errors from the new pages so it had to be pulled. The original plan was to have the black and white (B&W) paperback out in Dec 2017 and the hardback color version out in May or June 2018. Due to the set back now the B&W will be out at the beginning of June and hardback at the end of June. We wanted to have an E-book version but because Poisoned Touch has so many illustrations in it the charge per page to change into that format will cost $2-$3 per page = over $1500.00 so cannot unless sales are up. The good, the bad, and the bottom line of reality.


Trademarking logo and words was tricky along with copy-writing the book. Very detailed on description along with changes galore to make possible and being charged a lot to make it all what it needed to be. Twice! Once through the self-publishing company that never made it official and the other having to involve my attorney to make sure it would be done correctly and efficiently.


Creating the website and finding the right company to go through. Lots of research before going with one to best represent us and have the features we needed.


A lot of blood, sweat, stress, & tears but it was all worth every step we took to know the dos & don’ts of this line of work. It wasn’t an easy road but a road worth traveling which is the best part. You cannot get anywhere in life without putting in time, effort, and strength to keep going. Know your value, respect those around you, and never give up on your dreams to pull them into reality. Time will tell where Poisoned Heart Productions will go. Lots in the works and I am looking forward to all our projects being published for all to enjoy!


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