15 September 2018

Adventures in Publishing - Manuscript Submitted to The History Press

Tower of London (copyright G.K. Jakobs)
Tower of London (copyright G.K. Jakobs)
Today was D-Day... submission day of the manuscript. The last few weeks have been serious nose-to-the-grindstone... tidying up all the loose ends and doing multiple re-reads and corrections. After all that activity, it was kind of anti-climactic to hit the "Send" button with two documents (manuscript and photo captions) and twenty photographs. There were no sparklers or choirs singing at 5:55 am but it felt good.

I have a strong suspicion that this is simply the eye of the hurricane and that there will still be much work before a hold an actual book in my hands. But for the moment, I will relish this moment of accomplishment and a sense of completion.

I did have a heck of a time paring down the photographs to a mere twenty. I had so many options and had to prune ruthlessly, which was hard.

The same could be said of the manuscript. I had incorporated many lovely mini-bios of the interesting characters I have encountered in researching Josef's story (and published on this blog). Most of those ended up on the cutting room floor with the exception of a few key ones. That too was not an easy decision. On the other hand, I have a lot of anecdotal stories to share during interviews.

Another ongoing challenge has been my seemingly insatiable need to do more research. Just a bit more research... At some point though, I needed to draw a line... otherwise this book would never see the light of day!

One thing I've learned is that it is always (ALWAYS) better to have too much detail rather than not enough. Case-in-point... footnotes/end notes. Ninety percent of my sources were from The National Archives. A source might look like: KV 2/25, no. 65a, 15/04/1941, report by Stephens. File, folio, date, description. That's how I've run with it in the manuscript. For a while though, I was not the most consistent kitten in the litter... and that has been a major headache. I could have just gone minimalist and left it as: KV 2/25. But... I realized quickly that documenting the sources as precisely as I could really, seriously helped me as I did my fact-checking run through the manuscript. Which meant I needed to fill in the gaps on some of the sources. So... better to over-document a source than not. Word to the wise for next time.

Finally, working on the Acknowledgements really brought home how many people have helped me over the years. It's a long list. From the pharmacist who helped me decipher Josef's prescription at the Tower of London to the brave souls who read various iterations of the manuscript to Nigel West and Winston Ramsey who opened the door. Gratefulness to all involved.

I intent to resume my regular blog posts. I have a backlogged series of post ideas that have been yammering to get written.

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