What’s taking so long?

When I re-launched this site as a blog this past week I promised a long post explaining what’s been taking so long to get this book of mine published. This is the best explanation I can provide:

The Collector’s Guide to Dean Koontz started as one of those books-I’ve-read-by-a-particular-author lists, shortly after I discovered and read Lightning back sometime around 1989 or 1990. I was an employee of a Waldenbooks at the time and shared my newly-found love of Dean’s work with my store manager. Realizing that I would appreciate it much more than her she offered to give me her copy of the Land of Enchantment edition of Twilight Eyes. I immediately realized that there was more to reading Dean Koontz than just what was available in my little mall bookstore.

By my senior year of college in 1992 I was providing my bookstore customers with then then newly published Dark Harvest editions of the Leigh Nichols books (Shadowfires is still one of my all-time favorites,) and the still in-print Door to December by Richard Paige. Whenever, a customer said “I’ve read everything he’s ever written” I replied with a sly “no you haven’t” and filled them in. I also continued to work on my list and discovered that if you asked the campus librarians the right questions, they had access to databases that no one else had. (That database is now at www.worldcat.org and is much easier to search now than it was back in early 90s.)

In 1995 I went to graduate school for my Master’s Degree in Library Science (MLS). It seems that those librarians made quite an impression on me just a few years earlier. My final project was not your typical research project. With the help of the Special Collections Department at the University at Albany Library I submitted a descriptive bibliography of, you guessed it, Dean Koontz. (I think I got a B+.)

Late in 1997 I was working as an Internet Trainer for a multi-state regional library network and by 2000 had published my first “real” book. (The previous two were for a now defunct small publisher that wrote training manuals for computer classes in community colleges.) With my new-found writing confidence I approached Richard Chizmar at Cemetery Dance and asked if he’d be interested in publishing my research as a book. “Sure,” he replied “but we should get Dean’s approval and input too.” I was nervous but eventually everyone was on board and my proposal was accepted.

The book was announced and the book was scheduled to be published in the fall of 2001. (I still have the original  advertisement hanging on my home office bulletin board.)

I launched a Web site for the book (this was a novel concept at the time) and started blogging updates. (Though it wasn’t called blogging at the time.) You can still read all of those posts if you’d like to. It looks like I accomplished a lot in 2001 and early 2002. A manuscript was “completed” and submitted to Dean for his review. In June of 2002 I received an amazing amount of feedback and comments from Dean and set out to revise the manuscript accordingly. I still had some outstanding questions for Dean and sent him a follow-up letter.

At this point communication between all the involved parties broke down. As you can see I did post something in late 2005 which didn’t bode well for the project. What happened at that point involved additional parties not previously involved and the details are unimportant. I don’t blame anyone in particular. I could have tried harder that I did to re-establish the lines of communication. I was also admittedly bull-headed on some issues. I tried on and off to get everything back on track but in retrospect, not often or hard enough.

Throughout what I now call “the dark years” of this project, I kept updating the manuscript, filling in holes and adding all the newly published material I could find. Every few months someone who pre-ordered the book way back in 2000 would e-mail me and ask for an update. Every time I would reassure them that I still intended on having the book published but I had no more information I could give them. Meanwhile other books took up much of my time. (Number 10 will be out in a few months.)

Then, two weeks ago, I received an e-mail from Brian Freeman, yes that Brian Freeman, at Cemetery Dance. He let me know that he was working on Cemetery Dance’s backlog and wondered if I still wanted them to publish my book. Brian not only wanted to get the project back on track he actually sounded excited about the prospect of this title (which was contracted before he was hired by CD) and wanted to work with me to get all the problems worked out. How soon could I have something ready?

Timing is everything. My most recent book project is done and off to the printer in a matter of weeks. I told him that I think I could have a solid manuscript in a few months; end of the year at the latest. Brian’s got a ton of ideas, and every single bit of feedback he’s given me so far has been spot-on and extremely helpful.

So, the updates will be posted here as often as I can get them typed up. I’ve already been going through the backlog of material sitting in my office and digging up items I’d previously missed. I’ve got to work on some consistency issues with the text, and will be posting an updated “information needed” page within a week or two.

Are there still hurdles? The honest answer is yes. But if I wasn’t confident that this project is firing on all cylinders at this point, I wouldn’t be up much later than usual because I couldn’t sleep until I got this all written down and posted.

As always, all comments are welcome and I look forward to hearing from you.

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