Biography Progress Report #20: Better to Get It Right the First Time
Year of Ann Dvorak: Day 124
The past two weeks, I have been going through corrections made by the copy editor assigned to the Ann Dvorak book. Proofreading is not my strong suit, so I am in awe of anyone with the patience to copy-edit a 100,000+ word manuscript. Since this is my first book, and I have the tendency to abuse commas and under use periods, I appreciate having an expert set of eyes to tighten things up.
What I didn’t expect was for her to be so on her game that she would point out a bunch of citations from newspapers where I failed to note the headlines and bylines. When I first started working at L.A.’s Central Library in 2006, my lunch breaks for the first six months were spent glued to the microfilm machines. I poured over Los Angeles newspapers until my eyes crossed, looking for any mention of Ann. I found a lot of items in the Hollywood columns and just printed out the portion discussing Ann, which means I ended up with a few citations without headlines and bylines. By a few, I mean there were thirty. That’s right, I started this week off with a list of thirty undigitized articles I needed to find the “old fashioned” way.
So, the last couple of days I have been reliving my early years as a librarian with a stack of microfilm by my side and eyeballs ready to start bleeding. My advice to any of you contemplating writing a non-fiction book – get the citations right the first time!