I finished writing a book titled Blogging Heroes some weeks ago, but my job wasn't complete until this past week. Those of you who have published books know what I mean. After (and during) the writing, there were questions, changes, and corrections from the editor and copyeditor to consider. Then the book went to production, and they had questions. The cover and cover copy came in (more than once) to review and comment on. Then came a small flurry of last-minute questions. This is good; it means the Production Editor is doing a professional job.
I haven't had any of those for four days now. so I infer that my part is done.
At this point I have proofs of the book (marked-up PDF files) and an image of the cover. The next thing I should see is a bound book. Meanwhile, I've printed out the galleys and will put them in a binder with the manuscript for my collection.
The process goes faster than it did before computers. Word processing speeds up the writing, of course, and there's no need to have a typesetter key in the manuscript, if you can imagine that. Illustrations and galleys can be sent via E-mail in minutes, rather than the one-day minimum imposed by overnight delivery services. Writers with questions or answers to questions don't have to wait to catch the editor or production manager by phone; E-mail allows the writer and editor to work on their own schedules.
I do miss getting the marked-up manuscript and "dead matter" back from the publisher at the end of it all. Ditto, the galleys (or "blues"). But overall putting a book together is such a streamlined process that I can't imagine doing it any other way. The only thing that hasn't changed is the wait for the finished product. Target dates are set for getting printed copies, and for publication, but they're never quite exact. Blogging Heroes, my forty-second book, is set for publication in early December. I expect (hope) to see printed copies by mid-November.
Having wrapped up this book, I'm at work on some magazine articles on broadcast history and classic cars, while planning a couple of new books. Both are histories--one a biography of WLW star Ruth Lyons, and the other a history of the pre-Web Internet.
(NOTE, October 1: Since writing this I received one more question from the Production Editor, Liz Britten. This is going to be a good book.)
Copyright © 2007, Michael A. Banks