Proofs to the left of me, proofs to the right of me…

Free advice to writers – don’t try and work on two versions of the same book at the same time.

A couple of days ago I laid out the proofs of the private family version of Surviving the Death Railway on the dining room table in order to proof read it (again) and create the index. An hour later the final proofs for the published version arrived in my inbox. I cannot resist work, so I will check these again too.DSCN9154 I have to occupy the dining room as there is no space left in my writing room and the state of it is making me feel ill.DSCN9152And yes, my chair is an old block of polystyrene. It is a hangover from my sculpture days. It’s good for posture and it keeps the nether regions warm… but it has seen better days. I’m thinking of converting to a Swedish exercise ball.

The day before the proofs arrived, the marketing team for Pen & Sword got in touch and I have a five-page form to fill in. This is great because I will not be doing the promotion and marketing solo, a job I dread (and am very bad at). However, it is also a headache as I don’t know the answer to many of the questions (local radio? clubs and societies?), or they are tricky for a jack of all trades (short summary of career and education).

In between showers I rush into the garden, collect slugs, dig for half an hour and catch the spring. DSCN9161 DSCN9165 I barely get to emails at the moment and many of your lovely posts are unvisited, I will post this and go on a whistle-stop tour, but then I must get back to the indexing and the marketing forms. I am extremely lucky to have a publisher, but I am a little sad that there are so few hours in the day and that I am neglecting friends.

I have become multi-tasking superwoman – while writing this post I have printed off (one by one) another ten invitation cards to the second of the two launch parties for the book. Anyone near Cambridge let me know, I’ll send one, and you could come and enjoy sandwiches and sangria on the 18th of June (or near Taunton on 21st May for tea and cakes).

I have read the finals proofs… thank god I did, I found some errors I had missed and some gremlins that had crept in via the text editors.

Re tulips… the deep red flowers are Anemone de Caen masquerading as tulips!

47 thoughts on “Proofs to the left of me, proofs to the right of me…

  1. Oh my gosh, Hilary. One version would be challenging enough. How can you keep the two things straight? Kudos to you!

    Glad you caught the work of the gremlins. It never fails; you have to make that last check.
    And what its that lovely blooming pink shrub I see?

    Do NOT worry about getting to our posts. This is your time to attend to our books.

  2. Your tulips are lovely. Best wishes for rendering the writing room chaos into something that makes you feel calmer and able to be in there again. I am now wondering if an exercise ball might be just what my own back needs when I am working on my jewellery. I currently use an old folding deck chair, but it’s not the best for posture. Will you sculpt something new from the polystyrene block when it is demoted? Do you use it as a drafting medium and then copy in another material, or is it the final design and melts away when cast? Sorry if that’s one thing too many too consider just now!

  3. The writing room looks great, especially with the friendly up-right piano. The computer that I use sits on a piece of railway sleeper to give me a heightened and better vision in line with my tall and stooped posture. All the best with your upcoming launch of Surviving the Death Railway. I think the tulips are lovely and a good omen.

  4. Pen and Sword – the perfect publisher! It must be great feeling to have a partner for the promo.
    My, such amazing blooms already. Didn’t know about flowering cherry, and that they bloom this early – what a delight.
    Wish I’d known about your styrofoam block for my chapter on finding the right chair!

  5. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a polystyrene desk chair before, how unique. Well done on spotting those errors and I’m glad you got a little time in the garden, I’m sure that was good for your concentration and sanity.

  6. I love the polystyrene chair, Hillary, complete with its warn grooves. Don’t worry about us out here. We are rooting for you. If I were wandering around near Cambridge, I would certainly be to your book kickoff. (Now I am in the midst of a Texas State park surrounded by thorny locust trees and mesquite. Tomorrow I will dash through the Dallas/Fort Worth area so I can escape back to the country.) –Curt

  7. So exciting to hear that you have a publisher to help you launch this latest book, Hilary. Congratulations and I wish you every success and hope you enjoy the launching off process. Love to see your photographs, inside and out.

  8. There’s a wealth of things I picked up on in this post, Hilary, but I’m afraid I have only one question – just what did you do with your slugs, once you’d collected them?!

    • This indeed THE important question. My neighbour (a woman of the cloth) snips them in two with a pair of scissors. Apart from the yuk factor and being a wuss, many of the slugs I collect are barely larger than ants, so I scoop them into our big green garden waste bin. Of course, the blighters are wizard escape artists and the bins are collected once a fortnight, so I am half of a non-stop comedy act, mostly wearing a dressing gown and wellingtons.

      The really interesting thing is that we have lived here for 38 years. Until last year I had shared my garden quite amicably with the few slugs I met, but they are now a plague and eat most plants – to the ground.

  9. I am glad that you got to enjoy (and share with us) a few moments of beautiful spring. My travels have kept me away from a good spring since 2012, so I am enjoying experiencing it virtually.

    Yours is a wonderful problem to have, but I can appreciate how frustrating it is not to be able to do all that you want.

    And I love your ‘about ‘ in the side-bar. What an interesting, varied life you have had so far.

    Good luck with the new book.

  10. Love the garden. I’m intrigued by the Pen and Sword. I hope you’ll let us know how it goes (I’ve come to the realisation that I might sell other people’s books with reviews and recommendations but I don’t seem able to do the same with mine, so I have to find cleverer ways around it). The polystyrene sounds interesting… I can’t find a chair that suits me no matter what these days. I have a Swiss ball but I spend too much time sitting to make it work…
    Proofreading… And of course the corrections introduce new errors sometimes. We can but try our best.

    • Thanks. Pen & Sword are just exactly the right publishers for this particular book – non-fiction military subject matter, but I know what you mean. It is very difficult to sell your own. Recently I found that I can sell my novels well at launch parties, but that doesn’t go far in the wider world. Maybe I will learn from this mainstream experience. I have a friend who sits all day at his computer on a (large) Swedish ball. It keeps him mobile and upright!

  11. I’m out of breath reading this, because you’re out of breath writing and proofing and gardening and doing all the things a writer must do to…write and produce and publish. EXCITING.

  12. Pingback: Walls, balls, squirrels et al. | Green Writing Room

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