copy edit crunch

Okay, so you’re supposed to update blogs a lot more often that what I’ve been doing. My biggest reason is that the copy edit on my book came back–all 400 and some pages, which were full of questions and changes for me to review and answer.
Thank goodness, Mike DiGrassie, the owner of Mrs. Rowe’s, was able to answer most of the recipe questions, which were very specific. Things like “How many minutes do you stir this?” “What is the visual cue to know this is done?” “How many minutes do you cook the sausage?”
Cooking is a strange thing to have to explain. I remember when I went to the Greenbrier Symposium for Professional Food Writers I was shocked by the continual dialogue there: how much do you need to tell you readers? No longer can a food writer say “add a pinch” of something without being questioned. Depending on your editor, publisher, and even what reader the book is geared to, an exact measurement needs to be given. I have to say I had never given this matter much thought before I went to the symposium.
In fact, there was a lot to food writing I had not considered before. It really is a tremendous responsibility to write about food. Not only is food an interesting part of life, but it is also life, for there is no life without food. And if there are mistakes made in recipes, the worst that can happen is, of course, death. Recently, for example, there was a very wrong ingredient (a poison one) published in a recipe featured in a prominent magazine, which was subsequently removed very quietly and quickly from the stands.
So, I don’t mind the careful, meticulous copy edit of this manuscript. I even did not mind the copy edited notes on the narrative, which gave me another way of thinking about my writing and I welcome that.
What I did not like was the two-week deadline my editor gave me. It’s nothing personal–she is trying to maintain that production schedule. And to be fair, two weeks should be plenty of time to review the manuscript, but, of course it was just a bad time for me in my personal life. There were (and are) too many things to list right now, but suffice it to say, I was overwhelmed looking at that huge manuscript sitting on my dining room table.
The other facet to all this is the coordination aspect to it. This has been dogging me from day one on this project. If it was just me that needs to do work on the book, I can deal with it, roll up my sleeves, plunge into it. But I had to juggle the owner’s comments and questions, along with the recipe tester to answer questions. Both of these people have over-the-top schedules themselves. This along with my other deadlines, dealing with my kids, and other personal situations, could have sent me over the edge. But it didn’t.
I’ve spent four years of my life on this book. Even though it’s not the book I began working on, I am not about to let a little stress in my life affect my goal of getting this book published and out onto the market. I kept a clear head and got it done, thanking the universe that the other two key players in the book were able to do the same. The next part in the publishing process should be fun. In about two-three weeks, I’ll be getting a lay out to check the photos to make sure the right captions are where the should be, and to look at the text again, as well.
I’ll keep updating.

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