19: Post-Production II – Blood and Proof-reading

Posted in Diary posts on October 27th, 2010 by Peter Baker

27 October 2010

Bits of me started going wrong in the summer. This meant seven visits to my marvellous dentist in Bloomsbury, Dr Cline, who plays me Simple Minds and gangsta rap. But the real bummer was tearing my stomach muscles (‘hernia’ lacks romance, so I’ve dispensed with the word). Weird spasms in my leg alerted me to it. I went straight to my GP. He referred me to the surgeon, which led to multiple trips to Newham University Hospital where they prodded me, sucked my blood and decided to operate. Read more »

18: Post-Production I – Outreach

Posted in Diary posts on October 3rd, 2010 by Peter Baker

3 October 2010

Next came the ritual of showing.

Because The Jolly Pilgrim is an around-the-world true story, lots of other true stories intertwine with it.  I met well over 1,000 people, from six continents, through the period it records.  That breadth and diversity of world views is one of the things which facilitates the book’s thesis.  The names of nearly 200 real people appear in the manuscript.  So – for the sake of good form and to minimise the chances of someone trying to sue me – I had to try and track them down.  It was a major job.  Thank God for Facebook. Read more »

17: The Summer Season

Posted in Diary posts on September 26th, 2010 by Peter Baker

26 September 2010

Normally I’m fairly obsessive about having copy quintuple-checked. I draft stuff, sleep on it, look at it again, wait until the weekend (when I’m calmer) then look at it once more. I rely upon the steadying hand of my heroic editor and grammatical protector, Sid McLean, and try not to do anything rash.

When sending out a sample I also send an email containing links to the website. For my first pitches I decided to save a day, lose the front-end copyediting then have Sid look at the website-introduction email retrospectively. He emailed straight back pointing out that I’d said ‘it’s’ when I’d meant ‘its’. Read more »

16: Submission

Posted in Diary posts on August 31st, 2010 by Peter Baker

31 August 2010

Back in April I looked at the traffic stats on the website for the first time in months. They described a j-curve from October through March – by which point the site was getting 1,500 hits a day. On the 28th I was informed that my work was being discussed in Vanuatu. By then I was getting a stream of requests – and increasingly impatient demands – for the published product. Clearly, it was time to find an agent.

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15: Earlings Twilight

Posted in Diary posts on August 5th, 2010 by Peter Baker

5 August 2010

My first home, the place where I grew up and the spiritual hub of my family for the past few decades, is a house called Earlings.

Earlings is a seventeenth-century Flemish cottage and a grade-three listed building. It lies on the outskirts of the village of Dedham, in the north Essex countryside immortalised by John Constable, the second most famous British painter of all time.
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