I must admit I like writing.  The research is interesting, especially as it is usually in areas which have not been covered in the same detail very often, if at all;  the finding of things new to me is exciting, especially as this is a fairly common event;  putting all of this information together and making a viable story is exhilarating.  But then the book is finished and the manuscript is handed to the publisher.  Now the grim work lies ahead ….

First, the manuscript is sent to a copy editor who reads through and inserts the necessary codes before sending the text to the printer.  It is during this process that the CE bombards the author with numerous questions concerning spelling, abbreviations, references and entries in the bibliography.

That is the easy part!

In the next stage, the proofreading, the first printed draft of the text is sent out to readers – including the author – to be read through and any desired changes to the text to be coded onto the paper copy.  This can take quite some time, the only advantage usually being that by this point I’m half way through the next book and so have forgotten most of what I wrote previously.  Finally, the job is done and the printed text is sent back to the printers for correction.  Unsurprisingly, this is not my favourite task.

If proofreading is not high on my list of favourite jobs, there remains one that is at the bottom of the list in my estimation.  This is compiling the Index.

I usually go through the text and make a note of the Proper Nouns and events which I want in the Index before typing them into an alphabetical table.  This is the easy part.  In the ‘old days’ (the first two or three books) I would be sent a paper copy of the text from the printers and would begin the laborious task of reading through the text and making a note of the page for every name and event prior to typing the information into the table.  Thankfully, things have changed.  Now I am sent a pdf of the text and so am able to use the search function to compile the Index.  It’s still not my favourite task, but it is now a lot easier than it used to be.

Readers may have guessed by now that the title of this blog refers to ‘Attila’.  Yes, the book is finally completed.  I have finished the Index and sent it to the printers.  The book is now out of my hands.  The next time I will see the text it will be in the printed version, which is due out early 2019.  ‘Attila’ is now a part of history.

Still, I mustn’t become too complacent:  I’m working on ‘Constantine the Great:  Military Commander’ and at some point in the near future I will hand in the manuscript and the process will begin again.  Pity the poor writer.  Until someone devises a way of automatically compiling an Index I will forever have the task ahead of me.  Unless I stop writing, of course …..