And so there we all sat in the sun dappled courtyard of the Garden Museum, my friend Tony, Sam and Suzanne from Biteback and myself. The advantage of meeting face to face with Biteback Publishing was that I was able to ‘present’ my story. They could see the passion I had for the manuscript and, I like to believe, felt the real wish in me that it might reach out and offer solace to others. In this I know I was very lucky as not many authors get such a chance. They departed with a copy of the manuscript to review. After only a few days I received the telephone call from Sam saying,’ we would love to publish your book and be part of the next stage.’
Now remember that I had already begun the process of self publishing so an editor had already worked on my manuscript. And what does an editor do? He directs the focus of the story. He cuts out what doesn’t fit, what is nonessential to the purpose of the story. He enhances the major points, drawing attention to places where the audience should focus. This is a major part of refining a manuscript ready for publication so a major step along the road had been completed.
By the time of Sam’s call the manuscript had moved much further along the line. It had been checked for libel by a specialist lawyer and had then passed onto a professional copy-editor I had been recommended to and hired. A copy editor is another skilled part of the process where they improve the style, format and accuracy of the text, often checking facts as well as correcting spelling and punctuation. So the question for me was – did I actually need a publisher?
A traditional publisher, for me, had a number of advantages over self publishing. Primarily they would have a quicker and far reaching distribution network in order to get the book sold. There were still processes to be gone through such a proof reading, designing the book jacket, working out a marketing strategy and approaching respected exposure outlets to get the book noticed which tipped the scales for me. Yes, I could have done all this myself but I expect it would have taken me a lot longer than it has and I doubt I would have been able to step through some the doors that Biteback have. Of course, we negotiated over the contract and I have retained certain rights, to reflect the work that I had already done. I have retained control over the books PR arrangements as well as a large part of it’s social media exposure.
In the months since agreeing to sign with Biteback Publishing I think that they have discovered that I am not a ‘sit back and wait’ type of person. I have stuck my sticky little beak into every aspect of the ongoing manuscript processes, asked questions and dug my heels in if I felt they were taking the wrong line. Sam say’s he enjoys the fact I take an interest and does not mind my numerous questions but I am sure he will be relieved once the book is out.
February, being a short month, will be spent in finalising and booking in all the PR, Marketing and Social Media arrangements and trying to ensure that all work seamlessly together, before From Behind the Mask hits the book shelves on the 4th March.
And so the button has been pressed and my book, with all the blood, sweat and tears I have poured in to it, is a printed hard copy reality. I must admit my feelings are that I am part scared, part excited, part thrilled and part apprehensive…….I love it!