I have so much free time right now that I almost don’t know what to do with myself, and you know what? I couldn’t be happier. For the last 19 months, I was working full-time on my book — and then some. Whenever I took a day off (or even an hour off) to do something else, I felt guilty. That’s not a fun way to live. I was always racing a deadline, stressing out over a chapter, chasing down someone for an interview, and tweaking various paragraphs into oblivion. Six weeks ago, when I was working on the Rawlings chapter, I kept waking up in the middle of the night because of all the stress.
Now the stress is gone.
Last week I turned in the Rawlings chapter. That was the final chapter that I needed to write (although it’ll appear in the middle of the book). I even got permission from Rawlings to use several photos that I took at the factory, and let me just say that the chapter is filled with so many incredible/descriptive details about the current manufacturing process…you are seriously not going to believe it. Last week I also turned in the copyedited manuscript. Basically, what that means is that the whole book was printed out on regular paper, and there were lots of markings and notations in colored pencil. Those markings were made by a copyeditor at Random House whose main job was to clean up the grammar and punctuation. The book was already in pretty good shape by the time the copyeditor worked on it, but there were some issues. For example, there were several typos, lots of misplaced commas, and a bunch of hyphenated words that were actually supposed to be one word. Did you know that “postseason” is one word”? I’d always written it as “post-season,” so hey, I learned something new. I also learned that “web site” should be “website.” And the list goes on. The copyeditor, meanwhile, made some changes that I vetoed. To a certain extent, that’s my right as the author. Obviously, some grammatical rules must be obeyed, but for example when the copyeditor changed “Spring Training” to “spring training,” I explained that even though it might look funny, those words are capitalized in the baseball world.
Right now the book is being laid out by the typesetter. All the headings and fonts and photos and captions and page numbers are being put into place. That’ll take a few weeks and then the “first pass” (as it’s called) will get sent to me. I’m also still dealing with the cover. My editor and I finally agreed on a particular photo of a ball. Now she’s talking to the art department about whether the background will be gray or black. I’ve seen both versions, and I like the black one more. But whatever…the point is that there are still countless details that need attention. Just before I wrote this entry, I spent two hours compiling a list of media contacts for my publicist. Writing the book was only the first step; spreading the word about it will be just as important, so hopefully I’ll be doing a bunch of interviews next season and getting lots of chances to promote it.
Am I done with the book? Yeah, kind of, mostly. The hard part is over, and that feels incredible. I’ll post another update soon.