I finished my book.
At 12:55 I dropped two hard copies and a CD with an electronic version into the UPS box, and then called up my editor to pass on the good news.
Let's just say that when I agree to deliver a manuscript by September 1, nobody - including yours truly - really believed that it was possible. As of the end of May, I had done a huge amount of research, and had the original book prospectus which laid out the argument and structure of the book, but none of the book was actually written. Nobody in their right mind could have thought that I could turn this thing around in less than three months. I didn't, but figured that what the heck - deadlines focus the mind. Anyway, when I told my editor that the book was on its way, the editor laughed out loud and said something to the effect of "are you kidding? Authors *never* deliver manuscripts on time!" Ha, ha, ha... could have told me that when I signed the contract, eh?
Don't go running off to bookstores looking for a cover photo of the aardvark just yet. That's not how academic publishing works. If everything goes according to schedule - if the readers turn it around quickly, if the press is satisfied, if I can complete the suggested revisions and get the formatting squared away - then it could be out as early as the spring. If readers find serious problems, or the press or I aren't happy, it could take a lot longer. The press and I are still in intense negotiations over whether I will be allowed to put a picture of an aardvark on the cover, and whether the press will pay for the rights to a picture of Buffy and Faith to illustrate a climactic moment in the book (sorry, inside joke).
But can you just allow me a moment here?
I finished teaching, handed in grades, and finished departmental obligations towards the end of May. Since the end of May, I have...
*revised a paper for a workshop, attended the workshop, revised it again, and sent it off to be included in an edited volume manuscript currently under review.
*revised two other academic papers and submitted them to journals. One was accepted for publication, I did revisions and sent it in; it will be coming out in a few months (nice turnaround time!). The other is still somewhere in the review process - more typical of academic journals than the first!
*written a brand new chapter for an edited volume, which will be forthcoming soon
*written and published an article for a non-academic but widely circulated publication
*put in some time on a very important operation which I am not at liberty to discuss
*prepared one entirely new syllabus for a class in the fall, and substantially revamped a second class
*written a 92,000 word, 237 page book manuscript
*and, most importantly, walked my daughter to school every morning and got home in time to feed her dinner, bathe her, and put her to bed.
And now, dear friends, I am going on vacation. Enjoy what's left of your summer, and if you get the chance... go to the zoo. That's where the cub and I will be!