Birthing a Book

Martha’s book is in production now and I’ve found a rare break in this busy fall to give a progress report. Since last I posted on this blog, I’ve had two more deadlines. And we renamed the book, yet again, with new wording on the subtitle. I really like this one. As the sales department suggests, it shows this book is more than just another biography. There’s a strong link to the present. This title should be the keeper. It’s in the publisher’s catalog and on It is now:

A Place of Her Own: The Legacy of Oregon Pioneer Martha Poindexter Maupin

Late in September I received the manuscript back from the copyeditor for my review. My friends from my old Montana critique groups would smile to see all the changes made on my commas. They used to call me the comma queen. Ha! Looks as if I know nothing of commas. Actually, I think much of it has to do with style. I have a journalism degree and journalism style is open, the fewer commas the better. The publisher’s style is more closed. But I don’t pretend to have it all figured out. Other than that, the edits were fairly light, but the review took me awhile. I cannot read the book without seeing something that needs tweaked.

Then about  a week ago I received first pages, pdf files showing how the book will actually look, both text and photo pages. How exciting! It really begins to feel real. And it’s beautiful. I love the font on the text. Photos look great. Even the old photos will be in color, which means those lovely brown tones for most of the digitized originals. Assuming the old pictures would be black and white I had turned in a black and white version of Martha’s old house, which I acquired from the local museum. Seeing the beauty in the brown tones, I wished I’d submitted a digitized version of the original—which I have. I suggested that to my production editor Lauren Brancato, in case it might not be too late. She assured me it wasn’t too late and they’ll just swap it out. I won’t go into detail on my trials at finding that photo—like locking myself out of the pickup on my way down the hill to pull it out of a file box I knew was in a safe place at my kids’ house. And it wasn’t there. A lot of scrambling and throwing boxes and voila. We found it. But nowhere near the place I was so sure it was. Anyway, another deadline met.

I must say the people at Globe Pequot Press are wonderful to work with. It’s been a delightful process.

Meanwhile, I’m doing a major redraft of one of my earlier books, and hope to move it onto the viable list soon. And the farm has had its share of challenges, with sudden fall rains threatening the logging operation I needed to pay my bills for the year. Luckily we got the Indian summer I was hoping for and we managed to get the last logs off the mountain. I could identify with the struggles my ancestors faced in salvaging their crops and getting them to market.

So, all that is why there’s been a large gap in my blog posts. Today I am not hurrying to do anything. 🙂