Thursday, July 28, 2011

Manuscript completed!

July 28, 2011
I really do need to apologize to all for not writing in a while, but most of the time I was at the computer putting the finishing touches on the manuscript. I'm happy -- and relieved -- to report that it is now finished and at the publisher! My deadline for having the manuscript ready was August 1, so I made it under the wire. Whew! I have *never* missed a deadline in all my years of working with publishers, and I'm very proud of that. Publishers absolutely HATE it when authors don't make the established deadlines. Why? Well, not only is it rude and unprofessional, but a late manuscript can totally and completely mess up production schedule for getting the book ready for release. The easiest way to explain it is this: Think of a publisher as an automobile assembly line, with every person along that line having a specific responsibility. In the case of publishing, one person is responsible for reviewing the manuscript for typos and general errors. Another person checks the historical facts, especially in literary nonfiction, which is the type of writing I favor. Still another works on layout and design -- and so on and so on down the line. These wonderful people are "assigned" to book projects on a schedule, so if an author does not meet the deadline, it really, really messes up the schedule for those who were to work on the project. In some cases, a wrecked schedule can mean a drastic change in the publishing plans, which is a very bad thing for both writer and publisher. I also know of a few cases where missing the publisher's deadline resulted in manuscripts never being published! Therefore, it is absolutely and vitally important to meet all agreed upon deadlines.
The manuscript: I like this story, and how it is put together, better than anything I've written previously. It is a great story -- murder, mystery, mayhem (and a touch of a love story as well) at every turn. I have made a recommendation about the title, but it is up to the publisher to make the final decision on that (they look at key words to use, marketability, etc. when choosing a title). I'm not sure which direction they will go with the title, but I can say this: The story will shock many people because of the way it presents an important period in our nation's history. I'm not at liberty to say too much at this time, but I can say the story is about the early life of one of America's first industrial spies -- a person who dug up secrets about industry in order to help protect the rights of workers everywhere. There is also a "cold case" murder that is described in the Epilogue, and readers can examine the clues from the story and the added material in the Epilogue and come up with their own theories about "who killed whom." I think this will be fun and exciting for those who read the story. The tentative publication schedule is for the book to be released this coming March. I can't wait!
I haven't been doing much of late other than getting the final pieces of the manuscript together. In a few weeks when I come up for air again, I'll jot a few words about the "pieces" of a literary nonfiction manuscript. It is quite a puzzle, literally and figuratively at times! The only other writer I was able to visit with during this last stretch was a pretty fine writer -- former United States Poet Laureate, Ted Kooser (I'll attach a picture of the two of us together). The visit came at a good time because he talks about the importance of accuracy and simplicity in description and narration, and his words were a real shot in the arm to me after a couple of months of studying technical information for a couple of the final chapters of the book. My advice: Visit with other writers as often as you can. It is good for your writing -- but it is also very, very good for the soul!
I'm also getting ready to begin my next book. One thing is very true about writing: Writers can not live on their laurels. Once a book project is done, it is done -- and it is time to move on to the next project. It's a fast-paced occupation, but most of us wouldn't have it any other way.
I hope all of you are well -- and that your writings are coming along as you wish. More soon!