Sitting at my dining room table, I’m surrounded by historical society books filled with stickies, a file of photocopied articles with highlighted segments, a sample Arcadia Press book, and their Author Guidelines and Layout Planner. It has begun––writing the history of Florence for the Images of America series of Arcadia Press.
On Tuesday, I received a call from my Arcadia Press editor, Rebecca Coffey. I knew she would be calling and had my questions in front of me. Afterwards, I was ready to sign the contract, put it in an envelope, and mail it.
It would be a busy day. I had a 9:30 a.m. appointment and still some things to do in preparation for the next Florence Festival of Books meeting that afternoon at 1 p.m.
After my appointment, I came home, finished getting everything ready for the meeting, and just had time to squeeze in a little lunch. The meeting went well. We got a lot accomplished and were out of there in an hour. My co-chair, Connie, ran the meeting today, and I took notes. After the meeting, I had a couple of errands and then headed home. I typed up the minutes right away because I knew it would be a busy week.
On Wednesday, I spent the morning contacting various radio and TV stations to get FFOB info on their community calendars and let them know we have folks available for interviews.
That afternoon, I had docent duty at the museum. While there, I went over to the museum’s research library and told Adele, the librarian, about the Arcadia Book project and that she would be seeing a lot of me in the months ahead. I told her at this point, I was only interested in pre-1900s info. Before I knew it, she came over to the museum with a big file and said, “Go through it and let me know what you want copied.” So I went through it and found several articles of interest and took it back to her. She wouldn’t let me leave until she handed me another, even fatter file, “You’ll want to go through this one too,” she said. I went though it and found even more items. The first batch of photocopies I took home with me; I would stop by Thursday for the second batch.
The museum also has a series of Siuslaw Pioneer books in chapbook format that cover much of Florence history. So I went through those, and borrowed five covering early history.
There were also many visitors. When I sold a copy of The Crossings Guide, I realized that the museum was down to just one more copy and only four copies of Crossings. So I mentioned it to the person in charge of buying books. Since I always have a box of each in my car trunk, I was able to sell eight copies of the Guide and six of Crossings to the museum right then while I was on duty. All in all, a good day at the museum!
On Thursday, I dealt with more FFOB publicity related stuff with emails and phone calls, and went through the five small chapbooks. Three I would keep and read thoroughly. After lunch, I received an email from Rebecca letting me know that she had received my signed contract and attached were the 26-page Author’s Guidelines, an 11-page Layout Planner, and a schedule of when what was due. She advised me to read the guidelines thoroughly before starting the book. I ran them off, stapled the two booklets, and looked them over. A thorough reading would have to wait. I had to drop off an invoice for the books sold and the unneeded chapbooks at the museum and pick up the second batch of photocopied articles. I also needed to go grocery shopping and stop by the library.
Yesterday, Friday, I read the three chapbooks I’d kept and found lots of useful info. And made it through all but one batch of articles from the folders. By the end of the day, my eyes were mighty weary.
Today, I finished up the last batch of articles and spent an hour working in the yard before going to pick up some fresh veggies and berries at the Saturday Farmer’s Market. After coming home, I read through the Author Guidelines thoroughly. With more than 6,000 of this type of history book under their belt, Arcadia has it down to a science. Every teeny tiny aspect of this project is covered in the guidelines. So I will follow the advice of fellow authors I’ve contacted who’ve written books for the Images of America series. They said to follow all directions to the letter––otherwise you’ll have to do it over. So I’ll try to get it right the first time. With only a four-month timetable, I simply won’t have time to do it any other way if I want books out by next Rhody Days.
The timetable breaks down into a most intimidating schedule. My first reaction was, “How can I possibly do this?” On July 23, I need to send 10 test images with captions. And then on August 6 more test scans are due along with some edit.
After photocopying the info I want from the chapbooks, I’ll be ready to start writing the back-cover edit and the introduction. Then I’ll be ready to tackle the intro to Chapter 1. This week I’ll contact the photo fellows at the museum and choose the photos I want for Chapter 1. Maybe I’ll even get the large captions written. Just writing this plan of action makes me feel more confident. I can do this!
I also called my mom today because it’s her birthday; she’s 101. Although, I know that’s so, it’s still hard to believe. She told me that she’s been following my horoscope and it says that I need to slow down and take it easy. Ha! I told her I’d think about it . . . in four months!