Staggering out of the swamp

I recently suggested that my book was in the Underworld. Wrong mythos. Let’s say that I just rescused it, bruised, bleeding, and barely alive, from the foul swamp lair of Grendel and Grendel’s mother.

Last November, my editor decided it needed some reorganization. (I was OK with that.) He assigned it to a fledgling freelance editor who proceeded to make an absolute hash of it–or part of it. It took her four months to make it through the introduction and first chapter (without ever discussing with me what her concerns might have been).

Instead of considering organization issues, she did all sorts of amateurish sentence-level editing, leaving a morass of italic type, roman type, boldface type, and comments in square brackets that added up to an unreadable end product. I will have completely retype those sections in order to perceive what organizational changes might, in fact, be present underneath all the typographic debris.

Four months wasted. The chance of seeing it in print at this year’s American Academy of Religion meeeting seems pretty slim. I still have hope, though; it’s not a long book, and it will not present any complicated production issues. But I had hoped to be discussing cover design by this point.