In the face of yet another delay to publication, I thought I’d offer you something to keep your interest going. These are photos of my amendments book. Looking at them now they look like a cross between a four-year-old’s scrawl and a serial killer’s crazed letters to the police. I’ve blanked out one or two bits that give away the plot but the rest is completely unedited. This gives you an idea of my state of mind in the last few weeks. Not good. The part that made me laugh when I read it back was where I’d written ‘Manchester on a typically grey evening’ and then added the amendment ‘IT WAS SUNNY’. The scariest thing about all this is the thought that we might have missed something. There might be twenty mistakes in there that no-one has noticed. There might be thirty… There might be a hundred… Oh God. Anyway, latest publication date March 1. Stay with me! Please!
The proof copy of my book arrived as expected. Excitement turned to anxiety, though, when I started checking through and started finding problems. It was mainly formatting stuff and might not be obvious to the general reader but is glaringly obvious to me. This whole experience has left me with mixed feelings. On one hand I feel like I’m being ridiculously picky and a stupid perfectionist with OCD. Nothing can be perfect, I know that. No matter how much I refine something it will still be flawed. But if you continue refining and refining and refining… you end up with nothing. It’s a bit like cutting and cutting away at a giant diamond in an attempt to make it perfect and ending up with a tiny gem which, even then, is still not perfect. Or like George Lucas adding little CGI inserts to his original Star Wars films every few years as the technology evolves and ending up with movies which are smooth and slick but heartless and soulless. I just picture my family and friends reading my book and thinking ‘oh that’s a mistake’, or ‘that wasn’t as good as I thought it would be.’ That can feel like a direct comment about me; not as good as people thought I would be.
I sorted out the problems as much as I can, anyway. It means another delay, of course, and all the problems that go with it. Overall, this second book has been a very different experience than the first one. In retrospect, the first one had a very easy birth compared to this. It went through with virtually no hitches or at least that how I remember it. This one has been beset with glitches and hitches.
On the positive side, reading through this book, I’m even more proud of the final product than I was of the first one. The first book had been written in my head for many years; all I had to do was spill it out onto the page. With number two I’ve really had to work at it. But it feels more professional, more crafted for that. At the end of it all, I think it’s more entertaining. It will be February now by the time the finished book appears on Amazon and (on order, probably) in book shops. Oh yes and if you can’t afford to buy, just ask your local library to order it. Failing all of that, give me a ring and I’ll read the whole thing to you down the phone line. Or I’ll set it to music and sing it to you. I’m helpful like that.