March 1, 2009

Being the nineteenth 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.

August 29, 2008, 7:53 a.m. The DH is out of town. I’m in bed asleep and wake up to the vague notion that a doorbell has been rung. Groggily I get up, grope my way downstairs, and open the door in my pajamas to find the package lying on the doorstep. I climb back into bed with it. Did you know that UPS tyvek envelopes are sealed with some kind of super-gum-glue that cannot be torn asunder by the human hand?

I’m almooost into the package when the dog needs to go out. That taken care of, and now armed with a pair of scissors, I open the package, take out the pages, unfold, them, and take my first look at the cover.

Hallelujah! I can just about hear the heavenly choir. All is right with the world… I love it! As I turn page after page, I marvel at what the book designer has done. All of my hard work has been stylishly elevated into a thing of colorful beauty. These are mighty exciting times.

When I turned in the manuscript, one of the additional things that I was invited to send were some suggestions for how I envisioned the book, including likes and dislikes regarding book design. I really appreciated this opportunity for personal input, while keeping in mind that final design approval would rest with the publishing company. This is what I wrote:

“Some words that depict how I would love to see the book turn out: friendly, warm, cute (or beautiful), colorful, appealing, a feast for the eyes. In general, my style is sort-of curvy and organic.

I’m a fan of decorative typefaces for headings, and white space is my friend. I love floral colors, and a decorated page.

Regarding the text typeface, something elegant and refined… Garamond is nice!”


I could hardly believe my good fortune when I laid eyes upon the cover. A very cool art-deco typeface, my blocks dancing about, and one of my very favorite colors in the background… orangey-red! (Witness my Pat Sloan Orange Pile post :).

And look at this darling Table of Contents!


I’m composing an excited email to Robin when I get one from her entitled
“I can’t stand the suspense!”

Did I get it? What did I think? I relate to her the story of how I was left bereft on Thursday afternoon, hollering across the parking lot “Where’s my manuscriiiiiiipt!??” My gentle, mild-mannered tech editor replies, “I would have strangled the driver and then tore apart his truck.” Fortunately the driver has earned his reprieve.

Now for more of the nuts and bolts…. back to the editing work.

These are only the first pages… there will be more rounds of pages and editing in-house, but this is my last chance to see the whole thing before it goes to press. Fortunately they’ve given me a couple weeks so that I can take the processing time that I need to work through it all.

I’m spread across three counties as I work off the marked-up copy-edited manuscript, the illustration plan, the photo plan, and various emails I’ve exchanged with Robin, to check and double-check absolutely everything.

I gave those first pages my best shot. I used those really cool official proofreading marks, I wrote notes in the margins, I struck things out, I drew arrows hither and thither. I also composed a side note to the designer and a side note to Robin. These side notes were like “punch lists,” pointing out this, that, and the other. My angel editor Robin is going to coordinate everything for me. I’m feeling really good about the shape that things are in at this point. Robin tells me that it’s normal for us all to see things that we didn’t see before, once it looks like a book. It’s all part of the process.

Robin emailed me the day the pages arrived back on her desk to reassure me that she did not consider this a heavily marked manuscript. Whew! Also wow, is this ever a learning experience. If I ever get to do this again (and I sure hope I do), I will know so much more what to expect.

Now waiting to hear back from Robin after she has a chance to go through the pages in depth.

Stay tuned,
Quilt Pppy Publications & Designs


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