Essay–The Ensemble of Book Production
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’ve been working on putting out a new book. The Street is the culmination of nearly five years of blood, sweat, and stuffing. That doesn’t even include the bottles of Tuaca that were sacrificed.
First off, I would never have undertaken this project without the constant needling of my reader/listener base. I’ve been hounded, heckled, even SHAMED into writing more of these tales. I enjoy writing in Oscar’s world, so it wasn’t exactly a burden, but I did have to sacrifice several other tales I was working on. When you start the year off with a complete schedule of what you’re doing and then decide to spin the car 180°, it kind of throws you out of whack.
But that’s okay. The schedule was always meant to be “tentative.” Other projects have cropped up, including a new novelette for a charity anthology edited by Ed Lorn, a story written for the anthology 13 (which was later rejected because the editors are fucking pussies), and that doesn’t even count the words I’ve pounded into Flames while putting together this collection.
I’m not crying into my beer or complaining. This has been awesome. But here’s the truth: I’ve had a LOT of help. Not only help, but fanatical cheerleading and my contractors committing themselves to the project in a way I never thought possible.
Without Sue Baiman keeping an eye on continuity, smacking me in the face when I got blocked, and keeping me on schedule, I wouldn’t have been able to get through Chicken Feet, Frog Legs, and Baked Bird. She’s more than an editor–she’s a damned manager. And I, as you might imagine, am a terribly difficult person to manage. I don’t exactly have ADD, but I tend to cling to an idea and run with it, regardless of whether or not it’s in my best interests. Fortunately, she whips her writers and this project needed that.
Scott Pond has put in an incredible amount of work for The Street‘s illustrations and cover art. The interior of this book is his vision and he deserves all the accolades. My only complaint with Scott is that as we near completion of this project, I won’t have new Street artwork to look at. I guess that will come in the next installment (should that happen).
These two talented folks have made this project happen. I just write the damned words. I create the stories and plumb the depths of a twisted imagination. Without them, however, it would never get packaged up, recorded, or printed. I can’t possibly thank either of them enough for taking this project even more seriously than I did.
Putting a book together is an ensemble undertaking. It’s an orchestra where each member has a distinctive instrument to add to the symphony. Without one of those instruments, the music collapses into so much noise. I’m very fortunate to be friends with such fantastically talented people who bring beauty into my literary songs.
I have said it in many posts, but the bottom line is Scott Pond is the best artist I’ve ever worked with. He’s managed the layout and design of two of my books and I hope he will handle the rest of them in the future. That is if he’s still willing to work with me…
Sue has done a great job of keeping me focused and she continues to do so. Even while I’m struggling to finish Flames before I step into the novel I’ve already sold, she’s bashing me in the head with her editorial whip and driving me to stay on task. Without that kind of management, I’d probably be all over the place.
So if you’re a writer out there thinking of stepping into the indie world, you need to seek these folks out. They are incredible assets without which Shadowpublications.com and the books of one Paul E Cooley would be a dream never fulfilled.
So thank you, Scott. Thank you, Sue. You have managed to wash away most of my insecurities and drive me to create something I’m damned proud of. I hope you are too.