The arts require more than artistic talent; a lot of behind-the-scenes work goes into any project. 8 Bridges Workshop associate Anika Fajardo shares some of the activities surrounding the publication of her debut memoir, Magical Realism for Non-Believers, which is being released this month from University of Minnesota Press.
Magical Realism for Non-Believers was almost a decade in the making, starting with several years to write (partly funded by grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board and the Jerome Foundation), followed by several years of seeking an agent and publisher. Once the book was accepted for publication, the work of shaping—and reshaping—the book began. Working with my editor, I tore apart and rewrote much of the manuscript and then worked with a copyeditor to polish it. After my job was done, art directors, book designers, and publicity departments took over until, nearly eight months later, I finally saw the book printed and bound.
Now that I’m in the final stretch, though, it feels like time has sped up. There are so many things to do in the weeks surrounding the publication of a book. I’m visiting independent booksellers to help them find the right audience for my memoir and encourage them to hand sell it to the right readers. I’ll be teaching at two writing conferences, visiting a college where I’ll judge a writing contest, and speaking at a book festival, as well as reading at bookstores and libraries. In addition to making public appearances to promote the book and myself as a writer, I’m also educating readers about magical realism in memoir through blog posts and a podcast interview.
While I’m the one at the podium or behind the mic, it takes a village to publish and promote a book, and I’m grateful to the University of Minnesota Press for bringing this book into the world. I also applaud the critics, book bloggers, and early readers who have read and reviewed my memoir, helping it land on book lists, bookshelves, and wish lists. In the end, all of this work is so that my book can reach its readers.