A Sort-Of Milestone: Book Draft Submitted

A bit of advice: do not try to do an ambitious book on a compressed schedule. If I didn’t have quite a few people helping on important aspects, it would be impossible, but even so, this take a ton of persistent effort.

To wit: all the chapters are in to the editor, I believe I have a month for edits, and like apparently pretty much everyone else, there is still a lot of dorking I need to do at various points (ie, need to divvy one over-long chapter into 2, most academic chapter still has my experts on my case re quite a few points, one chapter needs two arguments added, one chapter has an important section that needs further unpacking and rework, and then I need to look at the whole book and see how to clarify the main arguments across the chapters).

But in roughly a month, the text will not be “final” but major changes would be bad form. For instance, it gets sent out for a copy edit (which I do review) and a final proofreading. One chapter will be held open till the last minute, which is mid-October, for possible news impact, but the rest will be pretty locked down.

The reason for the insane-seeming lead time (book goes to galleys October 15, galley out in November, pub date early March) is the galley process and physical distribution. I was told the only way to compress the process was to skip galleys, which they recommended against, since it would hurt sales. (galleys are important for reviews in long-lead-time mags). And no joke, physical distribution is a month. The books get shipped the first week in February.

Considering all that, I believe in meeting deadlines, and although I did miss it, by the standards of publishing, it was not by much. The due date was Saturday Aug 1, and with that being a weekend and my editor being on holiday, that was the functional equivalent of start of business Aug 3. It went in less than 24 hours after that.

There is still a lot to do, but not as pressured as before, thank God. And the draft is much longer than called for (I guesstimate 130,000 words vs. 60,000 to 80,000 per contract), which I think was necessary given that I am making a big hairy argument. That may actually ruffle some feathers at the publisher, but my draft readers do not seem to mind the chapter length. In fact, the ones that have gone over the best are the longest ones. The prose is not flabby, so I don’t think they can lose more than 10% without cutting substance, and I (of course!) think the detail is important. Will be interesting to see how that goes.

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  1. jbmoore

    Congrats, but now comes the endless revisions if proofing a book is anything similar to proofreading and revising an academic paper.

  2. Dikaios Logos

    I've been involved with putting together a few books. It was always tough, but I think you have taken on a much more ambitious project than most. Congrats to you! I eagerly await the book's publication!

  3. Claire


    Congratulations. Given that you consider your book to be serious work and this site to be merely "infotainment" (your words), I really look forward to reading what you have to say–please keep us posted on your publicity-related interviews.

    As one minor point, I *really* wish you chose a less sensational kind of subtitle. After every market-related fiasco, a whole slew of books come out, and most of them are written by people who don't have a F!@#ing clue what they are talking about. The book cover you posted earlier would make it very difficult for anybody who doesn't follow you to know better.

    It's not my business, and I of course hope you do well, as I've learned more from this site than I have from the vast majority of sites out there combined (including NYTimes, Economist, etc). I guess that you'll sell fine if you come off as informative during your interviews, anyway.

    Any chance you'll be doing hour-long type interviews (a la financialsense.com type)?

    Wish you the best, and look forward to reading your book. Is there going to be some cute animal pic on the back? :) .

  4. john bougearel


    The galleys are important, and the big review houses do seem to take 3-4 months to get back to you. A mistake I made, not to be repeated, was to send out copies of my book for reviews unsolicited. Word up, pick your highest profile folks you know you want to review the book, and ask beforehand.

    As for 130,000 vs 80,000, that puts your book in the leagues of a Jim Grant, size wise. You will be spilling out about 500 pages roughly. The costs will be higher, and it will eat into margins. But authors and readers tend not to care so much about the margins, it is more a publisher thing as they can only charge so much.

    Most importantly, congrats once again!

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