Monday, 24 June 2013

A man named Bill

The book editor turned out to be nothing like what I expected. Not that I’d ever really given it much thought. But when he turned out to be: 1) a ‘he’, 2) White, 3) American, and 4) Roman Catholic, I suddenly realized that this wasn’t what I had in mind (subconsciously) at all.  

But what do I know? I’m a novice who hadn’t planned to start a blog in the first place, much less a book, and who really didn’t know what exactly the role of a book editor was, anyway. All this is one big adventure to me.

The publisher sent me the editor’s profile to review. His name really is Bill. His credentials were terribly impressive – so much so that I sent a quick thank you email to the publisher for choosing him with such care. I was still really apprehensive, though, about some of the remarks made by authors Bill had worked with in the past. I noted one in particular who talked about his book having to be re-written ‘with 75% new content, just as [Bill] had predicted.’ This author sounded really happy. I balked at the thought of having to re-write stuff. Where on earth would I find the time? I read some more of Bill’s profile and found that this author’s book ended up doing really well. No wonder he sounded so happy.

I sent the profile to my sister along with the first couple of emails from Bill so we could compare notes. I thought he was absolutely hilarious. He ends almost every email with a joke that cracks me up.

‘Doesn’t he sound like fun?’ I asked my sister.

‘He sounds absolutely delightful!’ she replied.

Perhaps it was na├»ve of us, but my sister and I still couldn’t get over the fact that he was actually a ‘he.’  It was also interesting to us that he wasn’t African and wasn’t of the same Christian ‘flavor’ as I am. But the not-being-a-woman part was something that really gave us pause. No disrespect at all to the male readers of this blog (nor to men in general), but I did wonder how possible it would be for him to really ‘get it’ – to deeply understand where I, as a woman, was coming from with the very personal thoughts and perspectives that make up the blog. I mentioned this to him when I received his first set of comments. I mentioned it out of relief, really, as I discovered that I need not have bothered. I also mentioned how much I hate reviews (well, I hate having my own work reviewed, anyway, even though I love the benefits in the end). I spend a considerable amount of time at work getting peer-reviewed and providing peer reviews, and if this is what a book editor did, then I was going to dread this process.

Fortunately (very, very fortunately), it turned out that I had nothing to worry about. I found that I thoroughly enjoyed responding to Bill’s comments, and it has been a pleasure stealing time on my weekends to do so.

When I pitched the idea of blogging about the process of turning the rmj blog into a book, he enthusiastically replied: ‘Feel free about mentioning that your editor is a guy from Texas!’

So I’ve conveyed his message (J). More to come. 


  1. THRILLED for you. I'm not totally clear but I gather you have a book deal....I'll buy the book I'll go with you on your tour :-)....take me please!!!!

    Congratulations, nwanem (did I spell this right? My igbo is hard-learned from the streets of port harcourt and my office floor :-). You deserve it

    1. Thank you so much! This is old gist, though - it's mentioned in a few posts like this one: and this one:

      Hahaha - I won't be doing much touring, though (where would I find the time?). It would've been great to take you along.

      Imela, nwanne m. (The nwanne I hope to meet some day soon.) Well done O. Your Igbo just might be better than mine (lol).

      Bless your heart. Still expecting your cookbook ... (and I mean it).