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Topic: Take a page from my book...gown! BOOK NOW AVAILABLE!!  (Read 13026 times)
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« on: October 16, 2009 05:30:39 AM »

Edited to add: The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet is now on sale! I don't want to break the community rules by linking to it here, but you can find it in your favorite online or brick-and-mortar bookstore.

As a writer living in Portland, OR, I always look forward to Wordstock, the city's largest annual book festival. One of the festival's highlights is the Text Ball, a literary-themed costume party thrown by the Independent Publishing Resource Center. Guests of this prom for word geeks are encouraged to attend "with text as part of their attire," and the theme for this year's ball was A Novel Idea.

As it happened, I had a three-inch-thick stack of my own "novel idea"--the second-pass pages from my upcoming historical novel, The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Poet. Second-pass pages are the final step before a book is bound into ARCs (sometimes called "uncorrected proofs" or "galleys") and sent out to reviewers. They have the layout and typeset of the finished book, but on unbound, single-sided printer pages.

I was watching Project Runway's paper dress challenge when it came to me--I should make my Text Ball costume out of the pages of my own book! It semed like a creative and fun way to promote the novel at the festival. I would invite people to pluck a page at random off my skirt to keep and read!

First I printed black-and-white images of the cover art onto the backs of the first-pass pages by running them face-down through my printer. Then I cut the pages down to the actual book-size, a bit smaller than the printouts.

I had the green velvet renaissance-style gown and lace-up bodice already (I used to perform twisting balloons at children's birthday parties, and have a ridiculous variety of odd costume pieces in the back of my closet, "just in case."). But how to attach them to the gown so they could be easily removed? The answer: six boxes of fancy brass paperclips and my trusty needle-and-thread.

Yep--I hand-sewed more than 250 paperclips  individually onto the dress, one-at-a-time. I also made a "fringe" around the bottom of the bodice, then stuck in overlapping layers of promotional postcards to give it the stiff shape of an Elizabethan farthingale, to match the book's Shakespearean theme.

The stick-on letters wouldn't stay stuck to the velvet bodice, so I sewed them down as well. Then I curled each page around a pencil-thick dowel to give it some shape and volume and began hanging them from the paperclips.

I finally finished the project with barely an hour to spare before the ball. (Where are Cinderelly's mice when you really need them, right!?)  Here's a pic of me modeling the final result:

Of course, I then had to remove and carefully pack the gown into trashbags to take it to the ball (well I certainly wasn't going to be able to drive in the thing, or even sit in a cab!). Here's me getting dressed in the parking lot of the venue, which on a cold and rather windy night was a barrel of laughs, let me tell you. I lost a page or two to sudden gusts. But at least it wasn't raining!

The dress was actually quite comfortable, and the pages held surprisingly well until they were plucked, though every time I moved I made a sound like an Aspen tree. I was even able to dance, though I felt a bit like Ginger Rogers in Top Hat when I did!

Best of all for a shy, introverted writer-type like me, I was able to promote my book without having to approach people--strangers came up to me and asked about it! Everyone wanted to pluck a page, and since each one was different, there was a fortune-cookie feel as well, with people asking each other "What didja get?" or saying "Ooh, mine's a sex scene!"

Here I am back home again at the end of the night, stripped of all my pages. But now that the hard part--sewing on all 250 paperclips!--is done, it would be a relatively simple matter to make new printouts and re-attach them for another event. I really enjoy these sorts of weird-materials costumes--I don't think I've had this much fun with a craft project since my Dollar Store Wedding Gown!

« Last Edit: January 27, 2010 03:16:36 PM by witwhitherwilt » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2009 05:45:19 AM »

Not only is the dress fantastic, you might just be one of the most interesting people I have every read about. I cant wait to get your book. Smiley
Bravo, on your dress and all of your other wonderful creative accomplishments.  Wink

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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2009 06:22:54 AM »

What a fabulous idea! You are obviously very creative. I need to take a page from your book and follow my dream as well as you are yours. I hope your book is a success.

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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2009 07:36:50 AM »

That is such a great idea!!! Best of luck with your book!

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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2009 07:45:26 AM »

A novel idea and a beautiful dress!
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2009 07:53:24 AM »

This is an amazing idea to get your book out there! The dress is absolutely beautiful too! I can't believe all the work you put into this, way to really chase your dreams! Hitting this Rocks!!
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2009 08:15:54 AM »

This is the most original idea I have seen made in a long time. Very functional and very beautiful. Make sure to let us know when someone calls you about it so we can be on the watch to buy!


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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2009 10:14:11 AM »

What a great way to promote your book! Your book is now on my wishlist, lol.

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« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2009 10:43:03 AM »

I'm with everyone else- this is so clever and original a way to get your book out there. The title alone makes me want to read it. Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2009 11:02:38 AM »

Wow!  I love how custom and perfectly appropriate for the situation this is!  And it looked great, too!  It KILLS me that we live in the same city, but I didn't get to see it live.  Arg!

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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2009 02:54:18 PM »

You are such a clever lass what a great idea to promote your book and the dress is beautiful!

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« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2009 07:02:56 PM »

Such a handsome dress even without all the pages! What excellent work you do, genius in conception and execution, and I'm sure everyone who saw will remember it/you!
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2009 04:52:53 AM »

Thanks, everyone, for all your kind comments about the costume--and the book! If you're on Facebook, you can join the group for the novel and I'll send you a message when it's available.

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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2009 02:54:13 PM »

Excellent idea for a costume and for promoting your book! I wish I had clever ideas like that.

« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2009 06:25:30 PM »

What a clever idea! The dress looks stunning~
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« Reply #15 on: October 22, 2009 11:17:33 AM »

Good luck with your book! What a great idea for a bit of PR! getting noticed is the hard part, but it sounds like you will be ok Grin

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« Reply #16 on: October 29, 2009 03:16:47 AM »

OMG!! What a clever idea, both for a costume and a way of promoting your book XD To be honest, if I was there I would've plucked one from your dress as well even though I'm generally shy.

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« Reply #17 on: October 29, 2009 09:34:04 AM »

This may be one of the best novel promoting ideas I've seen yet.  Not to mention that you get a neat dress out of it as well.  Nice job!  Smiley

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« Reply #18 on: October 30, 2009 11:18:14 AM »

Wow, I'm totally impressed!  That is fab-u-lous!  I'm putting your book on my to read list as well Smiley

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« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2009 02:56:44 AM »

first of all, portland, represent. secondly, rad gown!

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« Reply #20 on: November 01, 2009 02:33:03 PM »

Very cool - and reusable!
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« Reply #21 on: December 29, 2009 09:44:21 PM »

By far the best idea I've ever seen. The dress is cool, and the idea of putting your pages on it as the dress part itself....!?! This rocks!!!    Grin

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« Reply #22 on: January 27, 2010 03:11:53 PM »

Hi, I'm just bumping this back up to let those who were interested know--the book is now available! You can order it online from the links at my website, or find it at your local bookstore.

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« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2010 08:15:37 PM »

That is the best idea ever! That is clever and crafty!
So is your book published now?
I am trying to get a story I have had in my head for years now, onto paper, so I might be following in your footsteps!

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