Progress on the High School Book

Pre-publication progress report

Full-circle update February 2019: I recently re-acquired the rights to this book and have passed the files on to the person who creates eBooks and print-on-demand books. This is the next project in the lineup and will hopefully be available on my Amazon page soon. Also: The links to the website mentioned in this report are not working. I hadn’t been maintaining this site and missed the renewal date so the site no longer exists. 

This page outlines the life-cycle in the creation, development, production, distribution, demise, and resurrection of a book, as well as the impact this process can have on its authors.

Nov. 21, 2004

I had been keeping these notes in my blog but realized, as we gear up to take our first pre-orders for this book, that there may well be people who pay for a copy of this book eight or nine months before it actually becomes available. We need a place for people to check, if they are so moved, on how this book is doing and where we are in the process. So I’ve moved my last blog entry to this page and will continue to update with reports on what’s happening, not just in editorial, but in sales, marketing, media and promotion. Stay tuned!

We’re just about ready to turn in the finished manuscript to the publishers. I met with them in Florida last week and saw the first catalogue that includes this title— very exciting. We are definitely on our way, and this project seems to have a lot of support from not only our editor, but sales and marketing as well.

We know of one or two more stories that may be coming in this week, and if something incredible comes in after we’ve submitted, our editor is open to “finding a place for it.” I think Eric and I both feel quite satisfied with what we’ve gotten, especially in the last few weeks, and are no longer seeking stories. (I’ve pulled the request for more stories off my home page. I am instead adding a link for pre-ordering a copy of this book.)

The only piece I would have liked that we did not get (yet?) is something on living with an alcoholic or addicted parent. Clearly this is not be an easy story to tell, even for adults with a lot of perspective and personal recovery behind them. Nonetheless, I had hoped to have something concrete in the book that sounded like the lives of kids who are currently living in these circumstances.

We’re doing a final run-through in the next week or so and have decided to turn the manuscript in on Dec. 6. Although we are essentially done now, this will give us a little more time for some of the permissions to come in, and to pull material for which permissions are not available or anticipated.

Dec. 8, 2004

It’s IN! Eric and I tied up the last few loose ends and sent the manuscript in to our editor, Elisabeth, today. I think we are both looking forward to a break from working on this thing which for me, like any book I’ve ever done, had completely taken over my life.

Jan. 10, 2005

Our first phone conference with our editor did not go particularly well. To begin, we found out that we had about twice as much material as what they can comfortably get into a book. (They’re attached to keeping it to 250 pages.) This means a lot of “pruning,” which also means that a lot of good stuff will get cut.

Our solution to this problem will be to put anything that doesn’t make it into the book onto a website specifically designed for this book. (One more thing I need to do. Soon.) This will include all references and resources and, sadly, a good number of stories and quotes.

Another issue, which is a little more difficult to deal with (or even get our heads around) involves some restructuring of the chapters themselves. We’re still trying to figure out what this will look like (and how—and when—we’re going to do it). I’ll keep you posted with how it’s going as it goes…

Jan. 25, 2005

I’ve been on the road since the last entry. (In fact, I’m in L.A. as I type this now.) Eric and I have been working on the manuscript and have had to cut, revise, and reorganize quite bit, although we have been trying to keep as many contributors as possible, even if we have to shorten their stories and quotes.

I’m hoping to get the Web site started, even if only establishing the domain name, in the next week or so. With so much still to do on the manuscript and so many design considerations to deal with, it will be quite some time before I actually get any Web pages generated.

I would like to remind contributors who have not yet sent in their permission forms to please do so as soon as possible.

One last thing: One of the contributors noticed that High School’s Not Forever is now posted on Amazon. This is always an exciting event, one that makes the product we have been working on for so long so much more REAL!

Feb. 6, 2005

Eric and I have completely overhauled the the organization and structure of each chapter. Hopefully, these will be the last major changes to the manuscript.

The order of the chapters is also likely to change before final publication. We anticipate moving chapters 8 and 9 to the end of the book, closing with Saving Graces and Positive Places (what got you through high school) and Perspective and Possibilities (holding on and getting through).

The latest version of the reorganized structure (with sub-categories within each chapter) is listed on the contents page. Sub-category titles are simply for our benefit in reorganizing the content and will be revised prior to publication.

Mar. 6, 2005

There is always a bit of dread in anticipating the return of an edited version of a manuscript, especially when working with a new editor. Well, we got the manuscript back and I was delighted to see that it had been edited with a light and professional touch. (I have had some real bombshells in the past, generally with other publishers! Having to untangle the mess made by an over-ambitious editor is a real nightmare. Thankfully, that was not the case this time!!)

Although we’ve been strongly committed to keeping the “voices” of the contributors, I was feeling a little squeamish about letting certain grammatical horrors remain in a book that had my name on it. (Things like “me and my friend was…” or my personal favorite, “to my friend and I’s party” just had to go! Sorry. Once a teacher…) Fortunately, Elisabeth, our editor, was willing to step in and managed to polish the contributions without stripping them of their spirit and personality. Nice work.

So I finished my pass through the manuscript, added my comments, put the attributions back in, and then passed it off to Eric to throw in his two cents and send it back in to editing. I am glad to be done with this part of the process and am excited about it moving into the design phase. Very cool.

In the meantime, I registered a new domain name and created a welcome page for the new Web site: highschoolsnotforever.com! (Yes, we can see how much it looks like highschoolSNOTforever. Hey, if that helps people remember the URL, so much the better.) Note: This site is no longer active. Sorry!

I’ll be going through the old manuscripts looking for stories, facts and tips that didn’t make it into the book. These will go on the web site as soon as the pages are set up. We’ve got an open invitation to anyone who would like to contribute a story, quote or bit of advice. You can send them to me via email or mail them to Jane Bluestein, 1709 Father Sky Ct NE, Albuquerque, NM 87112.

April 7, 2005

High School’s Not Forever is in production. For all intents and purposes, our work on it is done. (I am, for some reason, having a hard time deciding on what to write for my bio. It’s easy writing for teachers. I can’t imagine what a bunch of kids would want to know about me…)

Eric and I are now wrestling with the design of the new web site so it’s still a way off from an official launch, but the basic architecture is there.

What we need is content!! We have some perfectly lovely stories and tips and facts and quotes that we had to cut out of the manuscript when we found out it was twice as long as it needed to be, and that’s a start. I’ve just printed up a bunch of invites for teachers and will share them at my workshops. Anybody reading this want to write? We’re listening.

April 16, 2005

We got some sample galley pages this week and BOY do they look good!! If you want to check out what the book will look like on the inside, you can click here to download the PDF.

May 22, 2005

Eric and I spent a couple hours on the phone yesterday going through the complete manuscript page by page, comparing notes we made, each editing the final copy on our own. It looks REALLY good.

We each had the same experience after coming back to this material (in a very cool graphic format!) after not working with it for a couple of weeks, really appreciating the incredible range of topics and contributors (age, gender, ethnic backgrounds, interests, family experiences, etc.). I’m just blown away by the variety and the scope of this project. Surely there will be something in here that any kid will find familiar and, hopefully, reassuring.

We’re just now nailing down the wording on the final page we want to add, one that will invite readers to check out the new web site (which I’m still developing) and send in their stories and feedback. I still have LOTS of bugs to work out there— I can’t get the email account to work so I need to call tech support and straighten that out.

I’ll be sending the manuscript back tomorrow. The next time we see this material, it will be as a finished book! Very exciting (and more pressure to get that web site up— sheesh!).

One more thing: If you read my blog entries for last year (particularly the one from Sept. 16, 2004), you saw that we really wrestled with the tone and voice of this book. Finding a way of presenting the kids’ voices as they shared them with us ended up being less of a problem than finding our voices, the tone and language we used in the material we wrote ourselves. Nonetheless, I really had to deal with a lot of “stuff” about having my name on a book with strong language in it.

I have to say that this is another area that, for me, really fell into place. As I’ve told adults about this book in my workshops, I have mentioned that the language was pretty “real” at points. If it has slowed anyone down, or discouraged anyone from buying the book, I haven’t noticed.

I will say that I was a little surprised to see that the handful of f-words, which my editor strongly supported keeping, had been changed, in the final edition, to f—! We thought this was a bit of a sell-out but certainly understand (and are OK with it), although we did think that f*** was graphically more attractive than f—. (The actual word is still present in the PDF on this site but it’s been changed for the final version.)

So that’s where we’re at. The next step is get some of the technical issues worked out so I can start building web pages. We have finally have a page design we both like. I posted the design online for Eric to see (easiest way to share graphics) and now I’d like to share it with you! Click here for a preview. Note: This site is no longer active. If I can find a screenshot of the home page, I will post it here.

May 27, 2005

Got an email from our editor who has spent the past couple of days combining our corrections with those from the proof readers. I expect to talk to her in the next day or so and will come back with any publication I can find out.

Also: The Web site is up! Not much content yet, but the framework is in place so we can start pushing for more stories now. If you know any kids (or high school “survivors”) who’d like to write for us, please let us know (or visit our submissions request page).

Meanwhile, check out the site, highschoolsnotforever.com! Note: Errr… don’t bother. It is no longer active. Sorry!

June 11, 2005

Yesterday we got to see the back cover, which is a last-step before the book goes to print. It looks great! All the corrections have been made and our editor signed off on the bluelines which means it’s ready for the presses.

We don’t have a release date yet, but I understand that one of their accounts needs the book somewhat immediately so the production date has been pushed up a bit. Yippee!

I’m in the process now of assembling a list of people to whom I need to send books— certainly the contributors and people we include in the acknowledgements, which will account for more than 200 books going out. (Although we had material from over 2000 kids, the majority were sent in anonymously or from kids who never sent in a permission form with their address on it. All kids who submitted permissions will receive books, even if their stuff wasn’t actually used in the book.)

Then there are friends, family, and professional contacts with whom we just want to share the book. (“Look, Ma!”) And marketing contacts like organizations, catalogues, and the media. Plus we have nearly 100 books pre-ordered, mostly from people attending my workshops over the past 6 or 7 months or so. (We just got our first fax of the order form off the new web site!!) So we’ve got our work cut out for us.

Watch this page for a release date. I’ll post it as soon as I hear something.

July 18, 2005

The book is OUT! We just shipped out over 250 copies to fill pre-orders that have come in during the past 8 or 9 months, and to send complimentary copies to contributors. The books are out a month earlier than promised, but were shipped Media mail, which could mean a couple of days or a couple of weeks.

If you ordered a book OR if you contributed to the book (AND sent in a permission form), look for your copy to arrive soon. If you’re still concerned, please give us a call 505-323-9044 or contact us via email and we’ll follow up.

Now that the books are headed to bookstores, and are available through us and online, I will only be adding to this page if something significant happens with this book. Chances are, this will be the last entry and I will be posting any big news on my blog, so keep checking that out. (You can go there now for details of our assembly-line weekend of signing and packing books!)

Click here to see a sample of what the book will look like! Chapter titles are also listed here.

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