What I Learned So Far

My word! Has it really been that long? It finally happened. The second round of proofs came in… after six months of waiting. Not sure what the delay was, most likely too many other books in front of mine. Still, I wasn’t in the proper frame of mind. The long delay took the wind out of my sails and I lost confidence in myself in the process. My words were raw in front of my face like prickly bushes that needed pruning–badly. No rascally wizards flew in to make the corrections and gloss the whole thing over. After spending an entire weekend tearing the book apart (putting in commas and taking them out again), I put on the brakes and tossed the entire first pass out the proverbial window. The good news is—I had taken the time to look up the grammar rules that I wasn’t sure of and went line by line scouring each. The bad news was—I had spent seven days and twelve plus hours each day going over it. The moral of the story: Believe in yourself, for after a calmer reflection on the work–I found– it wasn’t that bad. I expected someone else to do the technical part of my writing while I handled the creative. It almost seems… actually is— more of a self-publish than a partnership. My contract promises book in hand after 290 business days. That ends on Nov. 2, 2017. Since I sent in my corrected files today, I’m not sure if the book can be printed in two weeks–give or take. (I received them on Sept. 29, 2017) In March, it took me five days to turn it around. However, I didn’t scrutinize the work the way I should have, I expected someone else would do that. Instead, of utilizing the twenty-one day restriction, this time, I finished it in eleven trying not to risk more delays. So, I’m not sure how the contract can be honored. I’m asking for some concrete dates and plans for the release of my book. This is not how I imagined the publishing of my first book to unfold.

As I waited for the proofs to come in, I worked to do three things; 1) Send The Tea Room to another publisher. 2) Work on the fourth book Vernal House in The Summer Palace Series. 3) Ready my third book PLACES You Will Be From for query. I did all three.

Now, I have free hands. I think I’ll do a little house work, shave the dog, and go shopping. After an eleven day marathon of mulling over the MS and not much else; I need a break. I learned several things: words/phrases essential to a sentence don’t need commas. Introductory clauses need commas, conjunctive adverbs can link two independent clauses together with a semi-colon before and a comma after, parenthetical  phrases can be offset in a sentence by commas, and never begin a sentence with a coordinating adverb (one of the fanboys). Also, double-check your work before sending it out for query or review. Make sure someone who has some understanding of grammar edits your MS first  (it might just have to be you). It’s almost like the mechanism underneath the hood of your car. Everyone knows its there but no one wants to know how it works. There are those that do and they make the big bucks. Take the time to re-learn those basic rules. There are some great resources online– I used some interactive worksheets (starting with the grade 4 level). I plan to work my way up, but for now I might only be as smart as a 4th grader. Then, know the difference between an independent clause and a dependent one. Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. A dependent clause can have a subject and a verb, yet it may rely on the previous clause to make complete sense.

In the acknowledgement section of my to-be-published book I mention my father, who was an English Teacher. When I contemplated my MS as it sat before me upon arrival I was embarrassed to have his name associated with a couple hundred pages of comma splices and fragmented sentences. After my hissy fit and bare bones attack on my ignoble script, I feel a little better about my contribution to the literary world. I think I can hold my head up high and be proud of the work I’ve done.

By the way, I did get a hit on the query I sent out recently—a request for fifty sample pages; because, they liked what I wrote in the three page sample (this same MS has been queried out many times before and after a complete take down and overhaul–under the hood check my Q and requested pages were accepted). That’s a good feeling.

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