So, the book The Everyday Life of the Templars is done (or as done as it can be). It’s the right length (I thought — but see below), the contents are as promised, the picture permissions are in, so now it’s all ready to go to the publisher … isn’t it?
No, of course it isn’t. Now we reach for the ‘submission guidelines’ and check through carefully.
All the pictures must be numbered, and the picture captions must match the pictures (check).
All the pictures must be the right size for good reproduction (should be OK, but ‘to do’).
Check tables to ensure they make sense (check)
Finalise maps (one still needs to be drawn …) — my long-suffering husband is dealing with this.At the moment each chapter is a separate file, for ease of writing; for submission all the files have to be combined together into one file (check).
The endnotes must then be checked to ensure consistency with the publisher’s style throughout (check).
All endnotes must then be pulled out from being endnotes because the typesetters’ software can’t cope with endnotes generated by MS Word: they have to become text following on from the main body of the book, which is a long and tedious process and risks getting the numbers out of order (check. It is at this point that I discover that in fact the book is too long — the ‘word count’ was mis-set in two chapters so that it didn’t include the endnotes. So do I start cutting it down? At this stage — no, because I will only mess it up if I try.)
As I want an index in this book, I then have to draw up a list of index headings and add it to the end of the file; because the publisher wants this done now, rather than at proof stage (check).
Prelims then need to be finalised. I can produce a contents list easily because I’ve used ‘headings’ in MS Word, but when I’ve done that and saved it I have to take out all the headings in the manuscript because the publishers’ typesetters can’t cope with them (this is easy to do — just change all styles to ‘normal’). (check.)
Then pictures go into one folder, text and picture captions can go into another, and the whole lot can go off to the publisher.
And after all this … the publishers can still reject it!
Did someone out there say that writing books is easy?