|Hernando didn’t make the cut this time!|
Whispered sounds sifted across the sand. Something very large was headed his way. A bright light swept across the beach, momentarily blinding him.”
“You should write a children’s book,” said our island friend Caroline Beebe after she read Hernando’s Story in our weekly blog of March 29th 2013. It’s a whimsical story about a hermit crab who lives near our house.
|Thomas the Cat in my rowboat|
Caroline, Harriet Lowe and I met for lunch at Qubano’s on Hidalgo Avenue in early April of 2013. They convinced me to seriously consider the idea. Back home I talked it over with Lawrie, and he said, “Great idea!”
And so the adventure began.
Hernando and I worked together for a couple of weeks, trying to turn his story into a book, but in the end I had to tell him, “I’m sorry Hernando, you just aren’t adventurous enough to be the central figure in your own book,” and I turned my attention to my very handsome cat, Thomas.
|Diego – making changes to the illustrations|
Thomas was extremely pleased about the project. He reminded me to include the part about how he liked to ride in my rowboat on Okanagan Lake, while we searched for pirates. As Thomas and I worked on his book I soon realized I needed a talented illustrator to really bring the story to life. Lawrie suggested our friend Diego Medina who was training to be a computer animator at the university in Valladolid. Diego agreed. Little did he know how many hours, and days would be required to create the characters, stroke by stroke, hair by hair. Two cats, two dogs, two people. Thirty something illustrations.
Next we solicited assistance from Diego’s aunt Mauri Medina to help with the translation from English to Spanish, making the story bi-lingual. Some sections were too lengthy when translated so Diego and I amended, revised and re-worked the story. Then I enlisted the assistance of Christy Dix of On Target Language Services, to re-check the wording for us, adding her revisions and corrections.
|I need a crown please!|
With each revision Thomas supervised, pointing out the important parts that he wanted to remain in the book. Chica our little female cat looked over the pages. She decided she wanted a crown and to be called PrincessChica. Diego gave her a crown and we changed her name. The two beach dogs, Odd and Missy spoke up and added their comments. Missy thought that she should have been the princess. Diego mollified her with a flower behind one ear. Odd-the-Dog reminded us that he had one blue eye and one brown eye. “Yes, we know. See? That’s what the illustration shows.”
While Diego was finalizing the illustrations it was my job to find a printer. First I tried various printing companies in Mexico, but the printing prices were more than we could possibly charge for a children’s book. The high price is dictated by the necessity to import all of the paper for printing, whereas in the USA or Canada the paper is produced locally. Next I tried printing companies in the USA and Canada, but by the time I paid for shipping and importing the prices were still too high for a small order.
|Hhumf! I should have been the princess.|
Finally I decided to try having it printed in China. There are literally thousands of printing companies in China, and choosing one who would give us a good price and good service was a bit nerve wracking. Over the next three months I corresponded with various companies obtaining quotes, answering a myriad of questions: Size? How many pages? How many copies? What weight of paper? Type of cover? Full-colour or not? Shipping by air or by sea? Insurance? Which port? Questions, questions, questions; all the while crossing my fingers that I was dealing with the real representatives of the various companies and not an internet scammer.
|March – the sample book arrives.|
In February we were finally ready to send the final – we thought – document via the internet to Gold Printing Company in Shenzhen China. As it turns out we had a few adjustments to make and with a fourteen-hour time-difference every adjustment took three to four days to complete. And then came the leap of faith. Send money! A 30% deposit was required to continue the order. Two weeks later we received a full-colour, hard-cover sample of what the finished product would look like.
Wow! We were so pleased.
Then came the really big leap of faith – send the balance of the money. Gulp!
|June 2nd in Manzanillo Mexico|
On May 6th, the shipment left Shenzhen bound for the west coast of Mexico. Through the internet we were able to loosely track the ship as it meandered from China, to Korea, and across the Pacific Ocean to the USA, dodging a category 5 hurricane and an earthquake off the coast of Mexico, before arriving in Manzanillo on June 2nd.
|Gustavo at Almex helping Lawrie and I load 420kg of books|
Annie, my invaluable contact at Gold Printing Company, put me in touch with both the shipping company and customs brokers in Manzanillo to continue the process. We still had a few more expenses to pay for – unpacking the container, importation, documents, and putting the books onto a truck. We were given another tracking number and spent an agonizing week checking on the progress of the shipment as it traveled to Mexico City, Villa Hermosa, Merida, and Cancun.
|Thank you Steve and Chris. You made our day!|
Finally, on Thursday June 12th – thirteen months since Diego and I teamed up to do this project – Lawrie and I drove into Cancun and picked up the 420 kilograms of books at the AlMex loading dock.
A few hours later as we waited in the lineup at the car ferry docks at Punta Sam we made our two first sales: Chris Shannon and Steve Mattox. Thank you guys, you really made our day.
During the whole process everyone was extremely helpful: Annie and Gold Printing, Erika at Gade Aduanero S.C., Paula at IFS Neutral Marine, and Carla at Grupo Almex, the trucking company.
They gave us such good service, and encouragement, Diego and I are already working on book two.
Lynda & Lawrie
|Celebrating with Diego, Thomas and Sparky|