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January 27, 2014: The Writing Life: Raudi’s Story

Raudi’s Story is finally in print. We have 100 copies in two boxes, they occupy front and center stage in our living room. It’s always a good feeling to see one’s work in published form, be this on the computer or in print. I enjoy seeing the dispatches up on the website after Pete posts them. And I really enjoy seeing the paper versions of my published work. Actually, I’m more pleased when paper versions come out, maybe this is because I can touch, smell, toss them up in the air and yell yippie!

Publication is significant because it’s both verification that I’m a writer (this as opposed to being a writer wannabee) and a form of completion. I don’t think that I’m alone in saying that for one reason or another, the bulk of my projects don’t make it to publication stage. This could have been true in the case of Raudi’s Story. This book was originally combined with a larger work. I separated them into two – one being my

story, and the other being Raudi’s story. I was going to
abandon the second, but Pete said that he liked it. So I sent it to Chris Romano who said that she’d like to illustrate it. And Pete, upon seeing the first few illustrations, said that he’d do the computer work. If the two hadn’t stepped in, Raudi’s Story would still be in a computer file, one with the title, Raudi Drafts.

I don’t consider Raudi’s Story to be my best work because her viewpoint is so limited. She who is a horse is unaware of the entire story. At the same time, this book isn’t super audience-specific. Adults may say that it’s for kids and kids may say that it’s for adults. But now that I think about it Black Beauty didn’t know the whole story either. Raudi would also venture to say that she is making a very important point here, which is that those who acquire Icelandic horses need to keep in mind that they’re not like other horses. They’re a northern breed, general purpose animal with kindly dispositions. They also lack a larger flight zone, so they’re less inclined to be reactive. This is why natural horsemanship techniques aren’t as effective when
they’re put to use on the likes of Raudi.

So maybe I’m being too critical. What’s now important is that Raudi’s Story is now out in print form – the publication process is near complete.

The next phase of the publication process is marketing and distribution. I’ve been working on my proposal since the copies arrived, so I have not yet begun to peddle Raudi’s wares. (At this moment Pete’s proofreading the proposal for the University of Alaska Press; the title of my proposed book is Writing Matters: Manure as Metaphor).

So far, and predictably so, the reception to Raudi’s Story has been so-so. There are a few reasons for this, one being that I’ve thus far only approached family members and friends. Most have already purchased the $4.99 online version, so they’re not interesting in shelling out $12.00 for a single print copy. Others say they don’t have the money at this point in time. And still others quickly change the subject when I hint that the book’s for sale. However, Dave at
Fireside books purchased three copies. In addition, our farrier purchased a copy. And my sister said she’d buy one.

So I’m going to have to focus on broadening my audience. I’ll soon approach area libraries and bookstores. And I’ll send email fliers out to friends. And I’ll approach local book distributors.
We’ll also give copies away to family members and friends, since being generous makes the world a better place.

Fairly soon then, the final phase of publication will begin. Raudi and I will start getting feedback from our audience at large. This then will enable us to make the revisionary changes that we see fit. After, I’ll resume working on Raising Raudi. This book has the same story line, the one difference being that in this case, the story is being told from my point of view. I feel (of course) like it’s more all-encompassing. I will most likely market both as a matched set.

When I was a child I read two books in succession. The first was entitled The Boy on Barkham Street, and the second was entitled The Bully of Barkham Street. The first was about a kid who owned a collie and was bullied unmercifully by one of his classmates. I was, when I read this book, totally taken by this kid’s point of view. Then I read the second book, which was the story from the bully’s perspective. Reading this second book was a real eye opener, for I then saw that a story could have multiple perspectives. This then, shaped my writing-related perspective.

These two books could do the same thing. I could, but I probably won’t, also write yet another book, which would be from Katie Long and Virginia Crawford’s perspective. (Katie was Raudi’s first trainer and Virginia was her breeder). I would do this, but I have to move on to other things. And so, this is what I’m going to do.

Next: 28. 1/28/14: A Conversation with Henny Penny Palin