In early November 2014, the permissions for reprints and for the personal information I wrote about Dad and Caroline and others were accepted, and LifeRich’s Content Review people provided their final approval.
Next up was Editorial Assessment, which I learned was something far different than I had assumed. I thought they were actually going to edit my entire book, show me their suggestions, and then let me accept or reject the edits as I wished. As it turned out, they reviewed seven of my 170 pages in a “sample edit” and reported back that they recommended a line edit, which is the least intense form of editing they do (good news for me because that means they did not believe the book needed a heavy edit). They complimented my book and plumped me up on how promising it could be with their magic touch. Problem was, if I wanted their editing, their lightest brand of review and revision, it was going to cost me an estimated $2,200. Before submitting my manuscript to LifeRich, I had already paid my personal professional editor, Neva, $1,800 to do a full substantive and line edit. No way was I going to pay that extra to LifeRich. Fortunately, their sample edit noted the few things that they found offensive – my manuscript needed hyphens in adjectival phrases, numbers spelled out, page breaks for new chapters, a table of contents, em dashes with no spaces for parenthetical phrases at the end of a sentence – some really pretty minor stuff, and so I edited it myself. Shit, I can do that! For free!
(Disclaimer: The fact that LifeRich was willing to do only a sample edit actually was in my Author Services Contract. The contract noted that full editorial services would come at an additional cost, so it was my oversight and not a subversive move by LifeRich.)
That was mid-November. By the time I completed the full edit and got my final version back to LifeRich, it was the Friday before Thanksgiving. It took me a couple of weeks because I literally re-read every word of my book, and the effort was worth it – I think I sent them something like 35-40 corrections. I sent the revised manuscript to my check-in coordinator, Barb, which is what I was advised to do by the rep for Editorial Assessment. I heard back from Barb on the day before Thanksgiving, and she told me she had to send the package back to Editorial Assessment to let them close it out first. Barb was very professional and helpful, but I wish her Editorial colleagues had just taken the next step without me having to go back through Barb, which simply ate up more time.
Anyway, they closed it out, and the next time I heard from LifeRich was on Dec 2. I got an email from Elizabeth in Cover Copy and Polish, which is where they review and edit, as necessary, the text I created for the cover – essentially, the title, subtitle, and the blurb and author bio for the back cover. LifeRich cautions that the process takes them seven to ten business days because they don’t show the results of their cover review until they share the mock-ups for the cover and interior design. Which is the next phase in the process.
So I give them the benefit of the doubt and wait the ten business days, but by the time that’s up, I’ve heard nothing but crickets. On December 16, I emailed Barb to ask what the next step is. They must have had me circling in a holding pattern because Barb came back the next day to say she needs several things to move my process forward – a waiver for low quality images (imagine that, photos from the ‘60s and ‘70s are imperfect compared to today’s digital wonders), an author photo should I choose to provide one, any ideas I have for the cover, and any specifications I might have for interior design like font and spacing. I got back to her same day fulfilling all her requests.
Barb promptly got back to me on the 18th to congratulate me on completing the submission process, thus opening the door for me to enter the production process. I would be handed over to the design team and my contact will be Mary Wegener. Amazingly, Mary got back with me same day, and she would prove to be almost superhuman throughout the rest of the process in terms of responsiveness. I’ve been scrambling around in a dark tunnel, but blackness has given way to the first stages of dawn, where I can actually see the barest outlines of things, and I know that the light at the end of the tunnel is soon going to shine bright as day.
I will recount the remainder of the process in my third and final blog post on this topic in the next few days.