The Sewing Machine

By Natalie Fergie

3 secrets. 27 notebooks. 4 generations. 1 blog. Millions of stitches.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Not judging a book by the cover.

Hello again. 

It seems as though this stage of book publishing is like waiting for the proverbial bus. Nothing seems to happen for ages and then all the buses arrive at the same time.

My second structural edit is back and there are only minor changes to make. I've been doing a full read-through, which takes longer than you might think because I'm reading it out loud. Yes, Boris the Labrador knows all the secrets which are carefully concealed in the book, and he's not going to tell a soul. 

I am a bit freaked out by the idea of reading out loud, partly because despite my thespian parentage, I don't have a performance bone in my body.

1. Reading out loud is not the same at all as reading in your head. In order to make a story interesting and not monotonous, all writers vary sentence length and punctuation. You'll remember this, I'm sure, from second year English lessons in hot classrooms when was the last period of the day and all you wanted to do was get outside and discuss the history teacher's new haircut. 

2. Varying sentence length is a Good Thing, but ufortunately an electronic book manuscript is not a paper-copy theatrical script. There is no space available to scribble 'TAKE A DEEP BREATH HERE, LONG SENTENCE COMING UP' on the computer screen.

3. It's possible that I will be doing a book reading (a tiny bit of book) very soon, and If it happens I will indulge heavily in marginalia, and annotate my printed text with stage manager instructions in large black letters.

I'm aiming to have the manuscript back to Unbound in about ten days time, and then it moves to the copy editing stage. This is much more to do with grammar and language, and I may need to justify my use of 'oxters' and the absence of contractions.

At the same time, I need to wear a different 'hat' because the cover design process has begun. Unusually, Unbound ask for author input in the cover design. Until I started this process, I assumed that all authors were involved in the design for their work, but this isn't the case. Imagine getting married and being told that yes, your dress can be white, or perhaps cream, but that's all the input required, thank you very much - well, that's what normally happens. 

Unbound are definitely the Good Guys. I have filled in a six page questionnaire about my book, who might read it (that's all of you), whether I think the characters should be on the cover, and all sorts of other questions. This has now gone back to the designer and soon I will have a proper discussion with him on the phone about the design. That's not to say any ideas I have will be used, or even that they are terribly useful, but it is really good to feel included in the process.

Once again, many thanks for your patience. I was once told that publishing can seem to move at a glacial pace. The analogy of a duck swimming elegantly along, but paddling like crazy beneath the surface is a good one. Things ARE happening, even though it seems like a flat calm.

Best Wishes,


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