The book manuscript leaves home

Today I finally managed to get the manuscript for my VLE book in the post. Well when I say manuscript what I actually mean is:

  • 2 printed copies of manuscript
  • Author questionnaire
  • 2 compact discs containing files
  • Folder containing 2 copies of all artwork
  • Disc overview sheet
  • Manuscript checklist

It has probably taken me as long to do all the post-writing stuff as it did to write the thing in the first place. You appreciate that academic publishing operates on fine margins so a lot of the mundane work is pushed back to the author. I bet Dan Brown doesn’t have to do all this extra work.

There is a short Martin Amis story, Career Move, which is set in a parallel universe where poets command huge advances and are media celebrities, and screenplay writers are struggling, unrecognised artists. So ‘Offensive from Quasar 13’ is struggling to be published in a little known journal, while ‘Sonnet’ is being fought over by agents. I like to imagine there is a similar alternative world where academic text books are sold in airports and read on holiday, while trashy thrillers are read by a select, niche audience…

It’s a strangely anti-climactic feeling getting the book off. I guess it’s because you know it isn’t the end, so it doesn’t have a cathartic quality. There will be corrections and queries to come back, and then the cover to be determined, and then, finally a printed copy in my hand. I suppose that is the point at which you should feel the sense of achievment, but it is so far removed, both temporally and psychologically, from the process of writing that it doesn’t seem to have any bearing on what you did. And by that time you’re doing something else anyway.

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