I finished my book? Think again: the editing process

Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder: taken at Bissell Brothers, February, 2014

Beauty is in the eye of the beerholder: taken at Bissell Brothers, February, 2014

My year-long project of writing a travel guide to New England craft breweries is coming to a close: I have four more days until my second deadline.  I thought I’d write about what happens when you press the “send” button and your manuscript flies through some cloud (Cirrus? Cumulus?) to your editor.  Let it be said that this “update” of What’s Brewing in New England will be edited by someone different than the first edition. So I don’t know this editor’s work style. But just when you think, “ahhhh, I’m done”, you’re not.

Right after signing the contract at Gritty's in Freeport

Right after signing the contract at Gritty’s in Freeport

You’ll clear off your desk and move on to another project. Mine is finishing two book proposals for mystery novels. But you don’t want to put any beer-related material in the attic, just yet. Here’s the ideal: “We love it just the way it is! Your royalty statements will be coming right along. Go put a down-payment on that condo in Charleston.” Ha! It just doesn’t work that way. There might be a need to shorten this book. Right now it’s 362 pages, and that is without images, of which I have over 600. Not all of those will get in, obviously. But some will.

Osso bucco made with Italian craft beer: my trip to Italy

Meatballs made with Maine Beer Company’s Mean Old Tom

I might get a chance to keep on looking for the latest brewery openings, so I can at least get those newbies a listing in the book. I might not, though. They want to publish the book in the spring. But last time around, a decision was made to hold it until the next publishing season, which kept “closure” more far off than I wanted. It all worked out in the end, though and there was enough time to ramp up publicity and get a good round of signings and appearances set up beforehand.

Rob Tod gave me a personal tour. Thanks, Rob!

Rob Tod gave me a personal tour. Thanks, Rob!

The hardest part last time was that it was my first book, hence my first experience with someone taking the famous red pencil and slashing through my “brilliant” prose. At first I bristled at the cuts and changes, but by the end I wanted the book out there more than I wanted to preserve my prose. Was it Faulkner who said, “Kill your darlings?” You have to be prepared to put your ego aside awhile to get the book done. It’s a collaborative effort, like beer-making.

Maine brews in Italy? Shipyard and Oxbow are both there

Maine brews in Italy? Shipyard and Oxbow are both there

So I’ll get back to work now. I’m going over the manuscript and back-filling, writing up the breweries I missed the first time around. Then I’ll make sure I have all the beer bus tour companies listed. Then come the recipes. It’s been a fun ride, and if you know of anyone who would like to be my designated driver, let me know. I’d like to get on the road and visit a lot more of the brand new places, and the old friends.

Tim Hikade, brewer at Deep Water, with is dog Bella

Tim Hikade, brewer at Deep Water, with is dog Bella

 

The first edition of What's Brewing. Will the title be the same? Stay tuned!

The first edition of What’s Brewing. Will the title be the same? Stay tuned!

Kate Cone

About Kate Cone

Kate Cone has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, is a freelance writer and the author of "What's Brewing in New England: A Guide to Brewpubs and Microbreweries," published by Downeast Publications in 1997. She is currently updating What's Brewing with a second book about New England craft beer to be published in 2015.