Good news — the first complete draft of Emmett Wilson’s book is done.
Is it in publishable condition? No. It needs a clear-headed, objective edit, which I’ll start in three or four days. I find I do my best paring-down of copy after I’ve set it aside for awhile. I’d like to have another editor look at it after I’ve gone through the manuscript thoroughly.
Here’s the process:
- Edit the manuscript.
- Create the notes and bibliography sections.
- Write the introduction.
- Contact publishers.
A few colleagues I trust (one of whom was my dear friend Nancy) suggested using a publisher.
All advised me to have a significant portion of the book in close-to-publishable condition — AND — to have the second book in (at least) expanded outline form.
This is the part I have not thought much about, to be honest. It is much like what I do as a professor at the University of Maryland: I’m always focused on improving my product, the student, not the business end of education (marketing to potential students). I’ve been 100 percent focused on Emmett’s story for over three years. Marketing? Who’s had the time? The research process into Emmett Wilson’s life, on top of my teaching load, has taken up all of my time.
But a writer has to have something in decent shape to share with a potential publisher before one makes that kind of outreach you know? That’s the conundrum. I haven’t had anything in any truly decent shape yet that I’d want to share with a professional publisher. I give my senior writing students hell for turning in papers that are less than their best effort; publishers would laugh my ass out of their office if I showed up with Emmett’s story in rough condition.
Clearly, I need to do some research and talk to other writers.
To jump start that conversation, I’m attending the Association of Writers & Writing Programs‘ annual meeting February 8-11, right here in Washington, D.C. I’m attending with another writer/fellow teacher from Richmond.
Until then, the real work of editing begins.