book publishing process

In My Hands

I'm SO excited! Guess what I've got? Finally: a copy of The Piercing Bible. For the first time, I've been able to see, hold, and read a finished copy of the book--just like the one you'll get when you place an order. It looks GREAT! The format looks a little bigger than I imagined it, and the color on the cover is tinged with a tad of purple (though I'll admit that I lobbied for a more punchy purple color). Opening up the box...Seeing the books for the first time I opened the box and lifted the book--hefted it really, to feel its pleasant and considerable weight. Smiling, I took a look at the front and back covers, then thumbed through the whole thing and heard the sound of the paper, as I took a big whiff of the fresh paper and ink. I did everything but lick the thing; I wanted (needed, even) to experience my book with every possible sense I have. What a delight! I also got another mini pre-review from one of the reviewers:

It's in the Mail!

I've heard from several of the writers who will be doing reviews on my book: they've already received their copies of The Piercing Bible in the mail! Meanwhile (here in Mexico) I'm empty handed. I guess the slow mail service is one of the few drawbacks of living here. I'm glad they got their copies already--but frankly--I want one too!

The Piercing Bible is Almost Here!

My editor told me that The Piercing Bible inventory has arrived at the warehouse, and that she'd send me a copy this week. I am so excited!! I can't wait to see the finished product. She also had me notify my contacts who are planning to review the book that they were going to be shipped out shortly. Entering this next phase is so thrilling! Oh, and I got so excited this weekend when I was searching for something about piercing when I ran into my very own words on Google Books. The Piercing Bible is on there (well, about 30% of the book). Check it out! Please feel free to let me know your thoughts and comments.

I'm DONE!!!

As of Friday, January16, 2009, I'm done with the manuscript. The front and back covers have been completed, and it is being sent to the printers this week. Whew! I'm so excited that it is complete and that I'll be able to hold a copy of the finished product in my tattooed little hands soon! After I completed the project of providing the correct page numbers for each of the cross-references in the book, I took it for a spin: I got to read it. Since it was a final draft there was very little to change or correct, so it was the first time that I'd actually READ the book, rather than worked on it, which is quite different. I'm happy to report that I enjoyed reading it, and that I feel very proud of it. I didn't really know what I'd think of it by the time it got published. And there were plenty of times I was sure it never would get done; it was a long and winding journey. Now that it is a finished product, I can definitely say I've never read anything else like it. ; ) I can't wait for some other people to read it and let me know what they think... Soon enough. I'm absolutely certain many piercers won't agree with everything I've written. But it clearly states at the front of the book:
Substantive research studies, statistical analyses, and other definitive resource materials related to modern piercing are in short supply; therefore, the information, practices, and procedures described in this book are largely based on my own extensive, clinical experience. I’ve integrated industry standards where they exist, but there is still precious little that is truly standard, so my opinions are a primary component of many chapters.
I'm off for a vacation to visit with my family and to attend a board meeting for the Association of Professional Piercers.

The Nitty Gritty

My editor, Lisa, sent me back my manuscript one last time (in .pdf format) so I could look it over and put in the correct page numbers for all of the cross-references throughout the book. Much of the information is quite interrelated. To avoid redundancy (it still came in at a higher word count than planned) there are areas where it says, for example: See "Overstimulation, Sensation, and Desensitization,” page 257, for related information." But since the page numbers continued to change until the final version, the manuscript says, See "Overstimulation, Sensation, and Desensitization,” page XX, for related information." My job now is to go through, and insert the correct page number so that all of the cross-references are properly identified. It is a big job! I'd better get back to it...

Book Update

My publisher, Ten Speed Press, sent me a version of the manuscript called "first pages." This is a hard copy that was formatted by their "interior designer" with the photos, illustrations, sidebars, headers, charts, and so on. It was the first time I'd seen it formatted and it was exciting! Almost all of the editing work I've done has been on the computer. I had the manuscript printed a few times, but always as a Word document; it looked more like a school project than a book. But as soon as I saw this version, I realized The Piercing Bible is definitely closer to becoming a book. I made a bunch o' edits and sent it back. They'll make the changes and then send me a corrected version called "second pages" to edit. I think that is the last round--then it will go to the printer. Finally. I also found myself listed as an author on my publisher's website HERE.

Book Illustrations

Well, the illustrations for the book are done, and it was quite a journey. My illustrator/artiste extraordinaire is Jennifer Klapecki, and we had the good fortune to be introduced by a mutual friend. She did a sample illustration and the publishers and I were duly impressed and she got the job. There were 23 illustrations and we had just a few short weeks to get them all done. I really have to commend Jennifer on her dedication, because this job totally ate her life during the time we were working together. I'd send her photographs of piercings with written instructions about the angle for the image, jewelry styles and sizes, and other details. Sometimes I sent passages from the book that describe the piercing placements, too. She'd draw up a draft, scan it, and email it to me. I'd sometimes print it and use white out and pencils to show her the necessary edits, and then I'd scan and email the draft back to her. Sometimes I would write out instructions and other times I'd call her on the phone (from Mexico to the US via Skype--thank goodness for Skype!). Some of the illustrations went back and forth literally dozens of times! It was a very intense job for both of us, because the deadline was so tight. Jennifer was amazingly patient with me and so willing to do whatever it took to make the illustrations perfect. I think we made a great team and I'm thrilled with how they turned out.

The Next Stage

I've completed the edits requested by my editor Lisa. They included turning chapter 1 into an introduction, combining the male and female genital piercings chapters into one big (whopping!) chapter, and so on. I combined some sections and changed them around to eliminate redundancy. It is hard to do because so much of the content is interrelated! She added cross references, and so on. We worked on it together, bouncing it back and forth several times over the course of a week. Now the manuscript has been sent to the copy editing department. Lisa said that the manuscript came in longer than expected. I offered to edit out more, but she didn't want me to. In fact, she even added one thing back in that I had edited out. So, while it is longer than they wanted, they seem to find the information important enough to leave in. So that's good! Now my awesome illustrator Jennifer and I are working together on the drawings of piercings that are going in the book. I send her photos of piercings with written instructions. She sends me back a draft. Sometimes we talk on the phone, sometimes I print the draft, and use white out and make suggestions for her. We bounce it back and forth (sometimes there are as many as 10 drafts of a body part!) and once it is done, she shades it in. That's when I can really see what an awesome job she's doing. She is fantastic with the shading. How lucky am I to find an artist to do this who has experience both tattooing and piercing, too! Yay Jennifer!
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