When Writing Catastrophes Happen
So. There I was feeling proud of myself because my finished manuscript was safely in the hands of my interior book designer. She is in Paris, France, but with the wonder of technology she seems to be right beside me in my office.
Her job is to help me pick out a font, a font size, a size for the finished book, margins, white space, and to know about everything my printer and cover designer do so that my final book comes out looking perfect .
I’ve used Shelley on my previous books and she knows her stuff. She’s saved me from having a finished product that I’d rather toss in the garbage than haul out and put on my sales table at my speaking events. Shelley is awesome!
Last Friday bright and early in the morning I sent Shelley the beginning pages, the end pages and the final manuscript itself just in time for her to work her magic. Sure enough, on Monday morning two emails came into my InBox, the first third of my book set up for me to check. Excited, I went right at it and found 6 pages with edits to be made. I didn’t send them right away as the phone rang.
On the other end was the subject of my book, the wonderful Ron Calhoun. He needed to book a time with me for corrections he had found in the mss copy I’d given him last Friday night. Now, Ron checked the manuscript for factual errors six months ago so I was surprised. We agreed to chat Tuesday afternoon.
I held on to the corrected pages that were all ready to copy and send to Shelley via Dropbox.
On Tuesday Ron and I worked for over an hour and a half over the phone as he gave me edits. He found some things that I definitely wanted changed and many that he wanted changed. He suggested a couple of edits that would save us from lawsuits. He noted completely wrong names. He went on and on for the duration of the call as I tried to make his suggested changes in red so that I could come back and think about them after the call.
Most of the edits I agreed to, some I refused and one I flat out said no. He wanted me to soften my words about his job responsibilities with General Motors; I said that sentence absolutely had to stay. The man is so humble!
This morning I worked through all the edits for two hours, reorganized the pages I had to copy for Shelley and made note of all the edits I’d made to the manuscript. I’ve learned in the past to update the manuscript because every once in a while someone needs your mss in Word for a contest or something.
The edited pages, eleven of them out of fifty, are on Dropbox for Shelley. I’ve made copious notes about my process so I won’t forget what I’ve done and I now just have to wait for Shelley.
What have I learned? Even though your subject has approved your work earlier, you better make sure to check the facts with them with the final manuscript. I’m so glad I did but I could have saved myself a lot of last-minute agony if I’d done this a couple of weeks ago.
Not to worry. The book is still on schedule and I expect to have lovely copies complete with 28 pictures and a fabulous story for the early part of June.
Now on to planning the ebooks!
The Man Behind the Marathon: How Ron Calhoun Helped Terry Fox and Other Heroes Make Millions for Charity