Today is the day after my editing deadline for Finding God in Ordinary Time. I have read the book–in its entirety–four times in the last five days. Here’s what I have learned:
I really like my book.
I must confess that I was a tiny bit afraid that, by the time I hit SEND, I would be sick of the thing. I am not. Each time I turn the page and start to re-read another reflection, I think “Oooh, this one!” This bodes well for the future.
Editing a book is more like making popcorn than I would have thought.
You know the instructions: listen carefully, then pull it from the stove (or microwave) when the popping slows. I thought I had thoroughly edited the book with Peggy Moran in preparation for Pitch Week, but then my Green Writers Press editor Cathryn Lykes had a lot to say about my commas (AKA bane of my existence), and also noticed a formerly overlooked bad habit of starting too many sentences with conjunctions. But after she was through with the manuscript (see, I did it again), I thought I would just skim it one more time for typos and be done with it. Yet I was amazed, on that first pass, how many things I still found to change. It wasn’t picky grammar stuff anymore, but the nuances of word choices, cadences, and repetition. (Such as, hey look, I’m about to use the word “fished” for the third time, which is two times too many in a book that has nothing to do with the catching of actual fish.) I made all my changes, printed it out, and once again thought I would skim and be done. No such luck. Only on the fourth pass did the “popping” slow enough . . . one word every 15 pages or so . . . that I could take this thing off the stove and call it done. (But only for now; apparently I get to do this again when I receive the galleys.)
I am ready for what’s next.
Now it’s time to shift from editing to marketing. I’ve already started setting up book launch events; for example, I’ll be signing books at the Barnes & Noble at Saint Joseph’s University during HawkFest (September 22, 2-4 p.m.) and doing a couple other events on campus that weekend (stay tuned). I need to start reaching out to independent bookstores, parishes, retreat centers, and colleges. Self-promotion is not my best gift, but I am eager to get Finding God out into the world, so I’m willing to do what it takes. If you would like to invite me to something–to give a talk or do a reading or lead an evening of recollection–please be in touch! And as soon as the pre-order link is ready, you can bet it will appear here!
Of course, the other “What’s Next?” is a second book. There’s still too much to do with this one to actually start writing the next, but I am musing, and longing for the day when I can start thinking about broad strokes rather than tiny corrections again.
You may be wondering when the book is coming out, since I just said I’m going to be signing copies on September 22. I’m happy to announce that I have what we in the industry (ha ha ha) call a “Pub Date” (warning: may not actually involve a pub). I got to choose, so I have selected September 17, 2018. This publication date is special for two reasons: it’s the eleventh anniversary of my mother’s death, and it is also the seventeenth birthday of my goddaughter Elizabeth. Mom was my first teacher of reading, writing, and religion, proofreading my every paper from grade school to grad school. And Bizzy was the subject of the first essay I wrote for this collection, way back when she was just five years old.
It has been, as they say, a long time coming. Thanks for following me on this journey!
May each of your ordinary days be extraordinarily blessed.