It's been busy. I participated in an interview series for a magazine (details soon). Editorial work started on the manuscript of Though I Get Home. I read the whole thing through once, decided to insert a new story, and trimmed down some existing stories. My editor, Lauren, sent the manuscript back with comments and line edits, and I went over those three times. Then I visited the Feminist Press office, and we had a brief but useful conversation in person to resolve the larger questions. No dramatic changes as a result, but we did agree to change the title of one story, and add a couple of hints to better ground readers.
We've also been through a few iterations of cover design. It felt good to sit down, look over different mocks, and discuss thoughts with designers Suki and Drew. From what I can tell, authors with big publishing houses don't get much say, if any, in book covers. So I am grateful I got a look behind the scenes and a chance to share my laywoman's thoughts. As part of playing around with ideas, I filled a sheet of paper with my handwriting. Variations of the book title -- all caps, all lowercase, etc.
Next, the manuscript will make its way to a copy editor. After that, I'll get a chance to address this new round of edits, and then we're going to galleys(!) by late summer. I'm excited to see how the cover will morph from mocks and ideas. While all this is happening, the press will also be soliciting blurbs. The thought of my heroes and literary luminaries potentially reading words that I wrote is shocking. It's not entirely a pleasant feeling. It'd be completely flattering, of course, but to have established writers (IF they say yes) be among the very first readers of your book... what if they don't like it; what if I'm a fraud, etc. paranoid sentiments come rushing in.
These straightforward steps in the book publishing process are probably mundane details, but they are meaningful to me. I still believe in corporeal books. I care about how potential readers will engage with my characters. I think about how books saved me. If there aren't enough exclamation points in this post, it's because the joy I'm experiencing feels almost sacred (one scramble away from "scared").
While I'm here: my debut dark fiction is out with issue #59 of Black Static (Kindle link coming soon). My story is called "To Dance is Feline," and it's told by the cat that shares a bond with Merricat, who has always lived in the castle. As usual, I'm impressed by Black Static's cover art, and was really pleased to see a black cat featured. I like to think that is the protagonist of my story. Bears a resemblance to our cat when she first came home with us (picture on left). She was barely over three pounds then, and now, after a regimen of careful fattening, she has stabilized at nine. I'll definitely be posing her next to my contributor copy when it arrives.