The Stones of Yemen, Update

I am on the home stretch of the grueling process of working with a professional editor for my manuscript. She completed her work yesterday, and now I must do one more rewrite (this will be rewrite number 24) to incorporate her corrections and suggestions. After that, then one more pass through the proof-reader, then cover design, and it will be done! There is a remote chance I could have it on the market by the end of the year.

Stones of Yemen Cover Prototype

My editor is an acquisition editor for a traditional publishing house and has been editing and writing for over thirty years and these were her kind words to me yesterday. I will not use her name as I did not ask her for a plug.

Hi, Mike, 

Here is the rest.

I’m so glad I got to finish reading the book. It was very much a pleasure! Really well done, well thought out. The main character is so relatable–you really feel like you’re in his head, in his world.

You have something to be proud of here, and I wish you luck with it.

Feel free to ask me any questions you might have about the editing.

When I read that, tears came to my eyes. It has been a long journey. More than just the last 24 months that I’ve spent inside the head of Bryan Rogers, living in the mountains of Yemen. It is a journey that started in 1984, when I published my first article in a magazine. Writing nonfiction medical articles for journals and magazines came easily to me and I had more than thirty published. That’s why I had an irrational leap to writing books, first nonfiction and now fiction. I have worked hard at that craft and I have a long ways to go. For you to know that I’m not boasting here, I also had an editor of a book manuscript tell me just a few years ago something along the line, “Mike, you are not a writer. There’s a book in this manuscript somewhere, but I can’t find it.” Ouch!

Bur writers, like all artist wanna bes, must have thick skin. Pick up the pieces, learn from them and move on.

I have never approached writing as a business. I’ve never come close to recouping the money I have to spend on editors through my book sales. I write for my own sanity in this post multiple myeloma diagnosis world I must live in. But in my heart, I want to tell a compelling story that makes the lives of other people a little better for a few days, and possible for much longer, and to share little part of this big world that they may not know.

I still have not made a decision about going with a traditional publishing house or through my small independent press. There are pros and cons with each. While a traditional house brings prestige and a broader market, you must turn over all your creative aspirations to them. Already, with a conversation with one editor, who represents one such publishing house, I was told major changes would have to take place, including dumbing down the book and replacing the PA-protagonist with a MD-protagonist, to make it more appealing to the popular market. I refused to do those things.

Thanks for your interest. I will keep you informed of the progress. Now to my last rewrite. Thanks to Kevin and Eric, who read draft # 2. Thanks to the other ten people who read draft # 5. Your words were invaluable. The book has come a very long way since then. I will send my beta readers a complimentary copy of the book when it is published.

With gratitude, Mike


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