I have been working on a project for the past year that up until now I have been keeping fairly quiet about….but now I just have to tell everyone about it because Netflix has picked up the book everyone (including myself) has worked so hard to finally get published and I am soooo thrilled! So bear with me while I tell you about this project…and then learn all about Thelonious Searcy yourself.
The project I had been working on is Prison Publishing. The gentleman who approached me to help him out is a police officer in Detroit, Michingan. He was recommended to me by another author I had worked for. Initially all he required of me was to create a logo for him for his new publishing company. He required someone to convert a hand-drawn piece of art by an inmate in prison to a suitable digital logo. I agreed, and below you can see the initial sketch that was scanned in for me to work from as well as the finished logo for Prison Publishing.
Not long after the logo was completed my client came to again, asking if I could create a book cover for a book one of the inmates had written and use another hand-rendered drawing for the cover. I love a challenge so I agreed to take a look at the artwork. It was scanned in and sent over to me. Hmmmmm….I thought. The resolution definitely wouldn’t work and the layout of the artwork would be prove to be a challenge as well.
Not long after the logo was completed my client came to me again, asking if I could create a book cover for a book one of the inmates he was working with had written and could I use another hand-rendered drawing for the cover. I love a challenge so I agreed to take a look at the artwork. It was scanned in and sent over to me. Hmmmmm….I thought. The resolution definitely wouldn’t work and the layout of the artwork would prove to be a challenge as well.
Still, I agreed to work with what I had been given and see what I could come up; quickly, I realized that I would have to digitally re-draw the entire cover in order to achieve the correct resolution and layout; this took me almost 2 months to complete, but complete it I finally did. The first image below (with all the blue) shows all of the tiny shapes I had to digitally draw to create all of the shading as shown in the drawing above. The second image is the digital image I drew without all of the shapes selected so you can see it.
With time and some back and forth communications between myself, my client at Prison Publishing, and Mr. Searcy in prison we finally arrived at our final cover for the book…and then finally, I received the manuscript to format for publication.
I ALWAYS read the books that I format, it’s part of my formatting process that I used to help ensure errors are found in the manuscript. Whether those errors are spelling, spacing, or hard line returns where they shouldn’t be. I find reading the manuscript helps me catch whatever may be wrong.
As I read I quickly noticed what a talented writer Mr. Searcy is, it reinforced why I agreed to become part of this project to begin with….giving inmates a creative and productive outlet while in confinement, that was my original reason for helping this fledgling publisher.
Finally, the book was published and one day while helping the publisher show people how to find the book I Googled “Thelonious Searcy” just to see if I could learn about the circumstances that led to his incarceration….and learn I did; I was dumbfounded!
I had become involved with the story of a man who has suffered serious injustice and to this day remains in prison. Serendipity had allowed me to participate in a project that is far more than simply worthwhile. And now, Be First has been picked up by Netflix for production. Will it be a series or a movie? That I don’t know, I just know it has been picked up by them and I am utterly thrilled for Prison Publishing, Mr. Searcy and everyone who has worked so hard on his behalf.
I am certain my name will never be involved with the production, and it shouldn’t be…this is not about me. But I get to go forward with the satisfaction of knowing that I had the privilege of working on a project like this that will likely make a difference in someone’s life. What more can I ask for?
Oh, I’d be remiss to end this post before recommending that you also check this book out for yourself. It’s REALLY well written. I will say that if you are easily offended by foul and graphic language this book is probably not for you. But, if you don’t mind those things…definitely give it a read, it’s an eye opener.