Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Promised Update on the Book

Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug, "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" by the Robert Shaw Chorale on the iPod. It has already been a Morning. It started at 4:00 with projectile vomiting--not mine, Jessie's. She is home from school for the day and right now is riding her bike around the house (inside) wearing a Disney princess nightgown, a polar fleece cap and snow mittens. If you think THAT is surreal...

It's time for the update on the book. I found out last week after I asked my editor (nothing is ever told pro actively to me) that the publication date has been moved to November 2007 because they are *busy* with other things. Never mind that I practically had a nervous breakdown meeting *my* deadlines with them. December 5, while I was in Chicago, I got an email with yet another project change *request*. I was guarded about its feasibility, and said I would follow up on it on my return to Atlanta.

Since my return we (the various editors and I) have been immersed in getting the illustrations and the shot-list for the photos firmed up. This morning I made a call to the main editor to follow up on the new project request. It was not a pretty conversation. I said there may be technical issues with the December 5 request, and I might need to do another technique. I brought up the technical difficulties *in detail* and presented their options realistically: 1) They may have to either settle on the bowl they already have, or 2) They may need to drop the project entirely, or 3) I might need to do a different technique in different glass for a wall sconce. I was told I was expected to redo the project *exactly*--technique, glass, and color--as decided by them. I finally snapped. I did it calmly, I did it politely, but I did it.

I said I had signed on to accept suggestions on color, projects, style, etc., but I never agreed to be told exactly what to do and how to do it. I was asked to have the manuscript have done by November 1--including a write-up of all of the projects--and I did. I went along with a project review on 10/13--two weeks before the manuscript was due and long after all the project write-ups were due. I went along with requested changes to 30% of the projects (and the resultant changes to the write-ups) which came out of the project meeting. But now they have pushed too far and I will not just jump blindly

Ironically, I originally wanted to do a ceiling fixture for the project in contention. They asked for a bowl instead because a ceiling fixture would be too big for a "beginner" kiln, so I did a bowl. At the project meeting they decided a bowl was too boring and they wanted a ceiling fixture. Deep breath, okay. December 5 I got an email telling me they found the hardware for the "wall sconce". Whiplash. What wall sconce? The one I am to do instead of the ceiling fixture. They had reconsidered and decided the shot of the ceiling fixture would be too boring.

I said enough. They trusted me enough to have me write the book and do the projects. They were going to have to trust me to make technique change decisions on my own. This is *MY* book, and ultimately, *I* am responsible for it and will be judged by its quality.

The conversation ended politely and frostily. Now I gear up for the photo shoot at the end of January. I hear I have a really great photographer and a super Art Director. The book begins to feel more real. (I also have a GREAT line editor and the editing process is going really well).


Anonymous said...

Relax Breathe It's all right!

They don't know what they are doing and you do. Let it flow off your back.


Bill Paley said...

Obviously, YOU don't have to be told about the changes to your book. Right?