Trimming

It’s been an unproductive couple of weeks, fiction-wise! But that’s okay. There’s been lots happening on the moth guide front. A couple of weeks ago we got an email from our editor saying that the group of compositors had laid out the text for the guide and it was shaping up to be 800 pages long. When we’d all been expecting it to be about 600 pages long or less. And was there any way we might be able to trim down the length of the text a bit? By, say, a quarter?

Easier said than done, as it turned out. We were given a week, and while my co-author Dave did most of the work, I did end up having to come in and make some formatting changes to the manuscript and double-check his reductions (just to make sure he hadn’t accidentally deleted a word when he shouldn’t have, or etc). It’s a funny thing about publishing… I often hear industry bloggers (writers, agents, etc) talking about how slow publishing is. They’re talking about what goes on in the agency and publisher ends of things, of course. But I’ve found it to be equally true for stuff here on the writer’s end. I don’t think there’s been a stage yet where I haven’t thought the particular task at hand would take me x number of hours, but it actually ended up taking 3x (or more!). In this case, I was expecting to take four or five hours to skim through the manuscript quickly before sending it back, but for a variety of reasons I ended up taking close to 15, I think. We weren’t able to cut out a quarter of the text, but I think that what we did remove, combined with a few other tricks, should hopefully bring the page count down.

So that got taken care of and sent back. And then early this week we were sent a copy of a potential cover. We both approved it, and with that approval it’s now officially the cover for the guide. I announced the cover and the publication date (April 3) over on my nature blog.

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