This spring I’ve been polishing the manuscript for We Never Stood Alone and recently sent thousand-word excerpts to several professional editors. I entered into discussions with two of these, and on May 11th signed a contract with Catherine A. Fitzsimons of Coventry, UK to edit the manuscript. This exciting milestone means that we’re on track to get a great professional edit and proceed toward publication later this year.
Last year at this time I was just beginning the first draft of We Never Stood Alone. Since then only a few carefully chosen readers have seen the manuscript, but they have helped me through three additional edits, during which I reduced the length of the book by about twenty percent. Last fall I made the preliminary decision to self-publish the book, and a major milestone on that path is a professional edit. Too many self-published books have skipped this step, with disastrous results. That’s part of what stains the reputation of self-publishing.
Catherine Fitzsimons is an experienced editor who was recommended to me by Liz Dexter. (Liz was recommended by Joanna Penn in her helpful How to Market a Book.) One of the things I was looking for in an editor was a feel for the United Kingdom and for a British way of speaking. I think I’ve found that in Catherine. When she edited my excerpt she said “For now, I’ve assumed that, although you are looking for appropriate [British] vocabulary and phrasing, particularly in dialogue, US spelling and punctuation conventions are to be followed.” I told her that was perfect. Catherine also did a great job making suggestions to sharpen or smooth the flow of the text. The fact that she lives in Coventry, where some of the novel is set is just an added bonus.
So what’s next? Catherine will be finished with her edit in late June, and at that point I’ll have to go carefully through the book and make decisions based on her suggestions. I also need to find a cover designer and get that work started. Finally, I need to make sure I can navigate the process of getting the book on Kindle and through CreateSpace (the paper publishing arm of Amazon). Once I’ve done those things, I’ll be ready to release the book, hopefully in September or October of this year.
It occurred to me recently that if I keep to my schedule for the four books of “The Stokely Chronicles” I will be releasing each of them almost exactly 75 years after the events they depict. Cool? Yes, cool!