January 13, 2009

Being the twelfth in a series of posts about a book proposal, from concept to print.

Click on the category ‘A journey to a book’ in the left sidebar to bring up all of the posts in the series.

May 2008. Now the editing work begins in earnest. In the olden days, editing was done on paper with those proofreading marks like “stet,” which means oops — leave it like it is (not to be confused with “stat,” which means quick like a bunny). Okay so we’ll still use “stet” later but nowadays the first rounds are done on the computer. Robin emailed me back my Word manuscript marked up in bright turquoise. I took a deep breath and started reading through.

I am one fortunate author. Instead of a bloodbath, what I found were compliments first of all, then questions and suggestions for revisions. It’s not so much a matter of “Ve vill do it THISS way” but more that my editor was guiding me towards better wordings and added detail, and letting me compose them myself.

Robin said that my basic structure was sound, and she could tell that I’d put a lot of thought into the organization of the material about hand and machine appliqué. Still there was some rearranging to be done here and there, and the fleshing out of things.

birdhouse.gifA funny thing happened on the way to the book. It was one of those self-discovery things. Robin and I had these back-and-forth email conversations about whether the information on methods of appliqué was “tips” or “instructions.” I kept saying they were tips, and Robin kept saying they were instructions. Finally I looked within myself, and realized that I could let go of the approach that I was just giving tips. Robin said she considered this a “how-to” book. They were instructions! After all, I’d stated in my proposal that I would love to have my tips expanded, with lots more illustrations, and that’s just what was happening!

One of the most wonderful things about this process was that Robin encouraged me to stand up for what I believed in strongly. If I truly wasn’t comfortable with something, I was not supposed to keep it inside, but to let her know, and we would work together to find a solution. Even though I had graduated in my mind from tips to instructions, it was important to me that I still came from the point of view of “this is how I do it” instead of “it must be done this way,” and she has respected that in the editing process. Instead of seeing my voice as a writer disappearing under the editorial pen, I felt like I was working in a truly collaborative environment. Robin told me to let her know every single one of my thoughts so that she would better understand where I was coming from.

I put that encouragement to liberal use on the illustrations. Since pdf is actually the native file type of Illustrator, I was able to open up the illustration file and mark it up on the computer. There was a lot of pick-up art added to the drawings I had sent, and most of them needed to be tweaked to match what was being said in the text. In this initial format the art was a bit all over the place. In a few places I was bold enough to plead, what happened to my nice illustrations??

I added my revisions and comments in hot pink. Now, with the hot pink from me, the bright aqua from Robin, and the grey highlighting from Karen, this thing looks like a hot mess. Back to Robin by email, and the next step was to wait to hear from her again. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs


One Response to “A journey to a book ~ Part 12”

  1. Amy @ parkcitygirl on January 17th, 2009 9:35 pm

    It’s an interesting process – Thanks for sharing :)