This update is best given in list format:
- Persuaded my father to not add superfluous biographical information to the introduction (this project not being primarily biographical in nature).
- Adjusted the introduction to indicate my intention of adding a number of my grandmother’s photographs and paintings to the collection for illustrative purposes.
- Wrote up an ‘If you enjoyed this collection’ page, suggesting that readers make a donation to Helston Community Hospital (where my grandmother spent her final few weeks).
- Added the adjusted/newly created pages to the PDF of the complete collection.
- Sent copies of said PDF (paper or email, as appropriate) to certain relatives and close friends of my grandmother’s, as a sort of ‘proof of concept’ exercise.
There isn’t much more I can do on the project at the moment, at least until I have a selection of photographs and paintings through which I can sort to select the best ones to add to the collection (which should be around Christmas or thereabouts). Things are moving now, and I’m tentatively hoping to have the full collection published in early April next year (hopefully in time for me to be able to take a copy or two to the London Book Fair).
I’ve created an appendix for the collection — a rough translation of the one poem that’s entirely in French. I used a bit of common sense, my secondary school-level French (which I can remember a surprising amount of) and an online translation facility for those parts which I couldn’t do on my own. It was pretty interesting, actually.
The next step is to carefully check over the original manuscripts for each poem and assign an approximate date of composition to each one. Most of the poems seem to have been written in the early 1980s; one of them, a sonnet which I have placed as the second in the collection, cannot have been written later than the 1940s or very early 1950s, as it is signed with my grandmother’s maiden name. I have to admit, I should probably have thought of this step before. I suppose this is another learning experience.
In addition to the introduction which he wrote, my father intends to write a short piece of commentary for each poem. This should help to set each work more firmly in the context in which it was written.
This post rather negates the progress report which I posted on 10th November. I gather that this sort of thing is a not entirely uncommon occurrence in the publishing industry.
The introduction to the collection is now written. The next stage is to gather the introduction and the transcribed poems into one PDF, to be sent to three members of my grandmother’s inner social circle who have particular experience with publishing and marketing (it seems reasonable to get an experienced opinion on whether the collection as it currently exists is up to a decently publishable standard). After that (hopefully), York Publishing Services!
I’ll probably hold off on initiating the greater part of the publishing process until after the new year, though — things tend to get rather chaotic in various areas around Christmas.
In general business news, my networking efforts on LinkedIn are starting to pay off — I’ve come across a couple of very interesting opportunities, which I am following up with all due diligence.
I’m also carrying out some preliminary research with the intention of attending the London Book Fair 2015. The prices for train tickets are absolutely eye-watering, but given the opportunities for networking and advertising my business, I’d say it’s most likely going to be worth it.
I’ve finished transcribing all of the selected poems. It was, I have to admit, pretty interesting.
While transcribing, I did minimal editing — just a couple of punctuation marks here and there. It seemed to me to be a good idea to keep the poems as close to the originals as I could.
The greatest challenges were probably the occasionally ambiguous handwriting and the fact that some of the poems had two or three subtly different versions. This required a bit of collation and thought, but was easily dealt with.
The next stage is to read the poems aloud to pick up any errors that might be best found that way, and for my father to write an introduction for the collection (this is technically a joint project, but I’m doing the lion’s share of the work because of my plans for a career in publishing). This is not especially urgent, though.
As a side note, I’ve noticed that updates about this project seem to get the most attention from those following this blog. This is heartening, and seems to bode well for plans to sell copies of the collection (any proceeds beyond those which cover the costs of self-publication will go to the community hospital in which my grandmother spent her final days).
I’m about 2/3 of the way through transcribing my selected poems (I should have all of them transcribed by about lunchtime tomorrow).
It’s been somewhat tricky at times, because the great majority of the poems are hand-written, which makes some letters and words very ambiguous (for example, I was able to get ‘kissed’ mixed up with ‘limned’, which is hard to do under ordinary circumstances). I suppose this is a problem that publishers and typesetters often faced before personal typewriters became common and authors’ manuscripts really were hand-written…
Thanks to my wonderful careers advisor at York, I have a line on a self-publishing company — YPS Publishing. This should greatly expedite the publishing process, since I won’t have to wait around worrying about whether or not each new letter that comes in the morning is a rejection letter.
Onward and upwards, I suppose!