One of the great joys of publishing a book is watching readers receive it. Being in Italy seeing the people Larry wrote his book about receive their copies took that special experience to a new level for me.
Each of the 12 days I was in Italy, Larry and I would drive out in the morning heading for a meeting with one person or another who appears in the book. One day was Pier (The Pavarotti of Montepulciano), the day before was Daniela Borghesi, Administrator of the Seattle-Perugia Sister City program and Daniela Snyder’s namesake, before that it was Primo, and Piero, and down the list.
Larry does a short formal presentation with each of them. He tells them how much they mean to him, he shares with them how they have changed his life. Inevitably, they cry, happily, to realize the impact they’ve had and as it dawns on them that this book is about them.
Then Larry hands them the wrapped book and the magic really happens. They humbly unwrap it and Sonja Gerard’s beautiful cover design comes into view. It features a photograph of the arch at San Galgano, the locals all recognize it. They stop and their eyes go wide, they lose their breath. A moment passes when I can see in their face that the book is exceeding every expectation they had of it. They knew Larry had been writing a book, they didn’t realize he was producing a work of art. They run their hands over the cover, page through the book, marveling at the design, the photos, the Cortonese symbol, the family tree. The look of the book, the feel of the book, its quality and exacting artistry helps them understand the magnitude of Larry’s work before they’ve even read it.
When you produce a book you release it into the world and it is not yours anymore. Most often who receives it and how it impacts them happens out of the publisher’s view. To be present on this book tour to see the book enter the hearts of the people receiving it made my heart bigger and filled me with gratitude.