Final Manuscript Completed!


Okay, perhaps an exclamation point is a bit over the edge. Yet it is a key milestone. If you recall, and I wouldn't expect many to do so, my last blog was dated August 15, way back in the hot summer of 2014.

Now, in the second half of February, the first draft is complete. I can come up for air, and resume what passes for a normal existence.

These 60,000 words have been sent to ten or so "beta" readers for both content review as well as any other English-101 glitches. The text probably will get some revision, however it is now beyond my ballpoint pen and iffy typing. Aaron Hierholzer, who has been my project editor at Greenleaf Book Group, has kept me on track at a higher level, in order to keep the story flowing and the characters interesting. In addition, the MS has survived the rigors of Ms. Susan Luton, a professional editor for multi-lingual (English and Spanish) educational material (and budding novelist). She, the mistress of the soft, fine-pointed pencil, has been a priceless (that is not true—she does not work for free) resource to me.

Not only is Ms. Luton a very precise editor, she also serves as a reader who isn't knowledgeable about amateur radio in any way. The book is a story about an international event (held every four years, in Olympic style) that matches two-person teams of the best "ham radio" operators in an on-air competition to see who can contact the most people in the most different locations within a 24 hour period, operating from locations that are selected to be as identical as possible.

This particular competition, the WRTC 2014, was held on New England in July. People from over 40 countries took part, the first time the championship has been held in the United States since 1996 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The intent was to isolate operating skill from other variables. That goal is nice to attempt, but hard to do in practice. I've tried to write a non-technical book that explains why two million people around the world enjoy the hobby of amateur radio, and why the sensual imagery of Morse code and signals floating through the air continues to fascinate  people to this day. Hopefully, some of younger people who are tied to the "instant and constant communication methods" we have today will learn about other ways to communicate (voice, data, and Morse code) and will find them as interesting—and possibly a key to a great career—as many of my generation have done.

The finished product is still a way off. The MS must pass muster with the publisher's editorial standards, and at least thirty photos must be incorporated, along with reference data encompassing all prior results for this competition (World Radiosport Team Championship). In addition, an index, a bibliography, and front and rear cover designs all must be finalized. At that point, several hundred "advanced reader copies," or ARCs, are produced for reviewers and the sales force in order to get media reviews in place, in addition to a sales forecast. The publisher and I then will agree on the volume of the initial press run, and emphasis will turn to marketing and promotions. These days, for a very small fry like me, just like the big shots of publishing, the scene shifts to appearances on TV and radio, newspapers and magazine interviews, and hopefully speaking tours to promote the work.

Stay tuned.

3 Responses

  1. John Jackson
    One might discount the following realizing that I am "kin" to the author, but...having lived through Jimma's (Jim's affectionate AKA to certain of us in his extended family) first experience with "Reunion," and the accompanying anxiety I experienced fearing that I would not like, nor appreciate, the book, and having been proven incorrect on both accounts, I can honestly say that I am looking forward to this new work. I have no experience with Ham Radio, but I have seen how important and fulfilling it is for Jimma, and I anxiously await the final product.
  2. Melissa
    Congrats Poppy, this is very exciting! Seven months to write 60,000 words is crazy, very fast! Can't wait for it to be finished so I can read it.
  3. Chuck Broadwell
    Hey Jim, looking forward to reading the book. I have only been vaguely aware of the WRTC events in the past. I just watched the first half hour of the video ( and had no idea what a massive activity it is! Need to finish watching the video now. CU, Chuck, W5UXH

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