Well, I have finally submitted my final manuscript and images to my publisher. Hurray!
The few days before I was able to do that that were sleepless and stressful. I couldn’t put down my laptop except to eat, catch a few hours of sleep, or go to the bathroom. My working hours became 4 am to 7 pm for four straight days. I suspended all wifely duties, including cooking and washing. My husband Bill just went out to buy food. The clothes were left to pile up.
Polishing the manuscript was quoted to me at two thousand dollars. I decided to save that money and do it myself. I licensed for three months the top-rated Grammarly, a grammar-checking software, for a $59. But installing it proved quite a challenge to this technophobic computer lady. We asked help from Byts Computing that was near our Resort. They did it for $25!
Well, the software identified spotted more than 1,500 critical and advanced issues, among them contextual spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. There were more sentence structure, style, and vocabulary issues, too. I was correcting them at the rate of 100 per hour when, all of a sudden, I hit some key. What followed next almost killed me!
The computer just kept on erasing all the lines after the one I was editing. For one hour, it did that, to my utmost chagrin and horror! Half of the book was summarily wiped away! I nervously ran to Bill, holding off my tears. He was at the gym working out. I pleaded with him to take me to the computer shop. When we got there, the task was aborted, and the file restored.
I lost a whole day’s work! But I went back to work, determined to complete the polishing step. The thought of finally finishing the book, submitting it and being able to turn to marketing pushed me beyond my wildest imagination. At the end of one cycle of corrections, I found out that new errors were introduced. The task had needed four rounds before I was finally satisfied.
253 issues still remain. Most are words that the software did not recognize because they were Tagalog, names or taken out of context. The rest are passive sentences that are better left like that. It was funny, but I found out that my favorite words were “huge, definitely, and pretty.” They were overused! I was completely drained when I finished.
But now I feel good. Those four days were the most I had worked since I retired. But I feel a great sense of accomplishment. My publisher has put together a design team to help me see the book to final publication. I have to make decisions on book size, paper quality, etc. The next time I will work on the book will be to correct the interior and exterior proofs online.
I understand that will be in about three weeks after the design issues are settled between the design team and me. Most probably that will take me to April when my husband and I will be back from our three and a half-week European vacation in Italy, Spain, and France. It is a case of perfect timing, you might say. I may be able to launch the book late May or early June!
Whew! As a reward for our valiant efforts, my husband and I went to see Kingsman: the Secret Service and downed two large bags of popcorn!