Having a book published, it turns out, takes longer than creating a brand new person. Once I looked back and figured up how long it had been since I first sent my publisher the columns I wanted in my book, I was kind of surprised. I can’t imagine what they were doing with that stuff all that time. I started wondering if maybe my editor had died, or at least retired. I’m sure by now he has.
Not that I was in a hurry, or anything. Actually, I generally forgot I was having a book published. After I sent in the manuscript it pretty much slipped my mind. About four months later I got an email that told me who my editor was, and how to get hold of him, and I thought, "Why would I want to get hold of an editor? I’ve got more editors now than I know what to do with." Then I remembered the book.
A couple of months later I got another email that said my editor had finished the editing, which reminded me again about the book. I wondered what had taken so long, especially since I had told my editor, when I found out who he was, that I didn’t want him to edit anything. At all. That’s my idea of a good editor. One that doesn’t do anything. At all.
Later on there were other emails from other people who did other things, each of which reminded me about the book. And after each email I forgot about it again. So I never told anyone about it, which is probably why so many people have been telling me lately they didn’t know I had a book coming out. Most of the time I didn’t either, on account of forgetting about it.
Around a month ago I wrote about the book in this column, and that it could be ordered by sending me some money. Unfortunately, I’m a humor writer, and a lot of people apparently thought I was kidding, and I didn’t really have a book coming out. Plus, for years, at the end of speeches, I’ve been encouraging people to buy my book, even though I hadn’t written one yet. Quite a few people have told me they thought I was kidding again. They call or email me and say, "I’d buy a copy of your book, if there really was one, but I know there’s not."
But the truth is I wasn’t kidding. I really do have a book out, and I can prove it, because I finally got several boxes in the mail recently full of copies of it. They’re piled in the front of my office, taking up space, looking for a good home. Maybe. . .your home.
In that other column I offered to pay the shipping, which is about three bucks, if anyone ordered a book by the end of April. Actually, it costs two dollars and thirty-eight cents to mail one book, plus almost a buck for the envelope, but three dollars covers most of it.
Quite a few people took me up on that, so not everyone thought I was kidding. One fellow ordered one all the way from California. I was a little apprehensive, sending one of my books to California, but they have to go somewhere.
The oldest person who’s gotten a book so far was 94-year-old Dortha Thorman, who used to work at Mason High School back when I was a student there. As soon as the books came in my wife and I loaded up and drove to San Angelo, where Mrs. Thorman lives in a nursing home, to take her one.
The youngest person to get a book so far is probably Nicholas Dyer, who is a friend of my youngest son, Leret. Actually, Nick’s dad, Chris, bought the book, but Nick kind of ended up with it.
A few days later Chris told me Nick really liked my book. I said that was great. He said, "Yeah, it’s just the right size to fit under the short leg on our foosball table. Evens things up." It’s nice to make a difference in the world. I’m hoping to do another book one of these days, and I plan to make it a little thicker.
But I know that, most likely, if my publisher doesn’t go any faster on the next book than they did on this one, I won’t be here to see it get to print. But then, neither will you, so there’s no use waiting around for that.
If you want a book (and there really is a book) send me $18, which covers shipping and everything. If you don’t want one, drop by sometime and I’ll read it to you. And if you’re over 90 let me know, and I’ll bring it to you, as long as you live in Texas . . .
Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who really and truly has a book out. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or firstname.lastname@example.org