This has been an exciting season for Down in the Ham!
April was a whirlwind of a month trying to get everything together for the publisher, so we could get our first sample copies in our hands. In the meantime, we’ve given Seeds Coffee a fair amount of business since it’s become our unofficial meeting space. (I know we logged at least 7 hours there at one of our work sessions there, and you can drink a lot of coffee and nitro-brewed tea in that amount of time…)
In case you’re curious about the process, Abby (Down in the Ham’s fabulous illustrator) painted each page on a board the same size as our book pages, then the pages get digitized and cleaned up before the text is added. We have one page in particular that has been quite the troublemaker for us, and Abby even had to re-paint it towards the end of April. So when you see the lavendar maps and murals page in the book, know that much painstaking care has gone into it!
But it’s all been worth it.
The Book Has Arrived!
The shipping notification for the proofs said that they would be in on Thursday, May 4, so Abby and I (Ashley) made plans to meet at Seeds (of course) that night to open the box and get our first look at the book together. But I got home from work on Wednesday to find that the box had arrived early! We decided to meet early Thursday morning instead (we both had already made plans for Wednesday night). But that meant the box just sat unopened on my kitchen table, taunting me the entire night, and I was like a kid on Christmas Eve, barely able to contain my excitement (for those of you who saw the Instagram story, you got a glimpse of my enthusiasm).
Holding that first copy of the book in our hands was better than Christmas morning + birthdays! We were kind of jumping up and down in the middle of Seeds, oohing and ahhing (and maybe even screaming in excitement at one point) as we flipped through each page of the book. I don’t think either one of us could stop smiling that day.
We did have a few changes to make, however, so this past week was another set of revisions and another set of proofs arriving in the mail (but with much less fanfare). The book looks so good, though, and we can’t wait for you to see it!
Adding to the craziness of our book deadline was end of the year student art shows for Abby and finals for me (I’m currently working on a counseling certification on top of my full-time job and Down in the Ham).
But all of that ended this week, and now, we are heading full swing into planning Down in the Ham’s release party!
On Saturday, June 10, from 5-9 p.m. at Urban Standard, you will have your first opportunity to purchase your very own copy of Down in the Ham: A Child’s Guide to Downtown Birmingham!
At the Book Launch Bash, we’ll have a couple of friends popping up with us (insider scoop – it’s Aviate, Newly Scripted, and Essie Frances), and you’ll be able to purchase coffee, chai, and tasty treats at Urban Standard when you come. We wanted to have our pop-up there to show them some love since they recently re-opened after renovations from a fire.
Abby and I also have a secret project that we’ve been working on that will also be available for purchase at the pop-up. (Here’s a hint: have you ever wanted to color your city?)
Down in the Ham’s Summer Calendar
We’re also excited to announce that we’ll have a booth at Vulcan’s Birthday Bash on Sunday, June 4. Since that’s before our book launch, we won’t be selling the book there, but Abby has designed a special coloring sheet for Vulcan’s birthday, which kiddos can color at our coloring booth. We might even have book prizes available for some of our favorite coloring sheets…
We’ll also be at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute on Saturday, June 17, at 11 a.m. During the summer, they host a Community of Readers event once a month for families. So come at 11 a.m., and enjoy free muffins and juice with the fam, then I’ll be reading Down in the Ham to everyone before we all participate in a craft activity that relates to the book. At the end of the event, every family will receive one free copy of the book!
I’ll be speaking at The Church at Brook Hills’ Newcomer Connection on Wednesday, June 21, and sharing my “Top 10 Favorite Fun (and Free) Things to Do in Birmingham.” There’s a brunch option and a dinner option for this event, and I’ll have the book for sale at both events.
AND Down in the Ham will also be at Pepper Place starting in July! Right now, we are on the calendar for 6 dates, so if you miss the Book Launch Bash, you can come to Pepper Place on any of the following Saturdays from 7 a.m. – noon and purchase a copy of the book!
- July 1st
- July 15th
- July 29th
- August 12th
- September 2nd
- October 21st
We’re also in the process of talking with various shops and bookstores in the city about selling Down in the Ham, and as we add those as well as other events to the calendar, we’ll let you know.
Thanks so much to all of you who have joined Abby and me in this journey! We have so appreciated your encouragement, enthusiasm, and prayers, and we hope to see you at the Book Launch Bash!