Been quite a while since my last update on the book. This morning I sent the manuscript off to Routledge via FedEx. Two hard copies plus a few assorted bits, and a CD. Five chapters plus introduction and epilogue, 311 pages of prose at 98,459 words. $60 to have it arrive Tuesday morning in New York.
I'd essentially finished the prose in the last month or so, but wasn't sure whether the press would want the manuscript until the permissions had been absolutely finalized, licenses in hand. Initial permissions letters went out July 20 and two of the five entities have "settled" so far, though not yet Metallica. I'd also been holding back on sending the manuscript until I was also sure there wouldn't be any disastrous problems with the Metallica folks over permissions, either in terms of price or simple refusals of some form or other. I figured that I'd prefer to still have full possession of the manuscript in case I felt it necessary to pull out of the Routledge contract completely rather than gut the prose to accommodate whatever reaction they might have to hypothetical outrageous demands on the part of Metallica's management. The worst case scenario would have been to pull out of the contract at that point (repaying the advance) and distribute the manuscript freely online under a Creative Commons license. Obviously the reach of my meager publicity/distribution efforts would pale in comparison to Routledge's capabilities, but I remain very concerned about the permissions issue as one of intellectual freedom. Perhaps I'm overreacting, but I'd rather be prepared for as many contingencies as possible than blindly submit to whatever compromises might be demanded.
In the end, Routledge contacted me earlier this week wondering when they would get the manuscript (I'm a couple of months late) and I hurriedly made a list of what needed to be spit-polished. I was informed that I didn't really need to wait until the permissions were completely finalized and that it would be good to get the editorial production started while the permissions finish (hopefully without problems!). Over the last couple of days I fine-tuned everything, tracked down or dealt with straggling footnotes and citations, finished the Author Questionnaire, designed a mock-up of my ideal cover (which will entail yet another round of permissions, though I'm not sure who's responsible for that one -- me or Routledge), and then spent most of yesterday actually printing the darn thing twice. My poor five-year-old (?) Lexmark laser printer was really creaking by the end! Still, it got the job done and I must admit I enjoyed revisiting the feeling of accomplishment I had after printing out the final version of the dissertation -- it's pretty cool to look at two stacks of manuscript in all of their finality.
Overall, I'm quite satisfied with the content, and I've yet to have any of those significant "d'oh!" moments where I remember that I've now forgotten to address some issue or other, or expand this, footnote that, etc. There are a few minor things that I know of in that regard, and I was adding small things up until this last weekend, but there will always be those things when you live with a project of this scope for so long. In fact my decision to actually send the manuscript was in part due to the need to finally stop fiddling and consider it "done."
So now I wait for Routledge's reaction, and continue hounding people about permissions.
Posted: Friday - September 02, 2005 at 12:49 PM