I have been pretty quiet about what is going on with regards to the second edition of my book The Drentsche Patrijshond for the North American fancier, after all, the book has been sold out now for over two years now. I paid the big bucks a while back and put together an elaborate survey via Survey Monkey and that survey was sent to everyone who purchased a copy of the book. Thankfully, I received some good feedback. Interestingly, what I received is very much what I had expected – I had accurately assessed what people would like, and what the book needed to be more complete. That was a huge win!
Here is where it got sticky. The original fully edited manuscript was lost. Neither my publisher nor I had it. But we did have the PDF file of the pre-production book, which still predated the last round of house cleaning for the production run. So, I cracked the PDF and unleashed a storm of formatting errors – the result of my designer using a host of proprietary fonts. The resulting file did in fact look much like a train of dumpsters flipped into a ditch and set alight. It was a total disaster. I had to put it away it was so bad. Still from time to time I’d open it and try to make corrections. Some efforts were hours long, others just enough to open the file stare fear in the eye and close it. One day I was fooling around and had an epiphany regarding the pattern of auto-formatting the file crack job created. From that point, the clean up job become mission possible. Tedious, mind numbing the task was. Much, like picking grains of rice from a sack of lentils, the task was hours and hours of careful combing – but I did it. I managed to create a clean manuscript.
Still, there was the task of restoring the final print edit. This too was an unenviable task. Some of the edits were subtle, some quite significant. The result of my publisher’s efforts really put a level of polish on the project I was not capable of producing. So, I would set time aside and have a pre-production book as well as a book from the production run set page for page just off to the side, with my trusty laptop and power supply at hand and went word for word. Sentence by sentence. Paragraph by paragraph. Page by page. Chapter by chapter to restore the edits and make adjustments in a few places. This task took longer than I had anticipated, but the work passed smoothly and helped to breathe new life into my desire to see the project through.
With that wind under my wings, I began writing about all the things I wished I had been able to have in the book when it was sent to print, the same things my feedback told me that others wanted. To date I have written 21,000 words and still have more to write. Because the way my creative process works, I make the process a bit more difficult on myself than it really needs to be. It just is what it is, I stopped fighting it a long time ago – but I do still curse it from time to time. These past few weeks I have begun shaping what I have produced into a cohesive piece, so that one idea flows or builds to the next. I thought I had it, then realized I had boxed myself in and so I had to redo the whole thing. Cutting and pasting within a lengthy Word document is tedious. Scrolling up and down, down and up. Finding text and moving it to the right place, highlight text for future editing, and so on. Then identifying what is it that I am missing.
That is right, with 21K written, I most likely still need to write the better part of 10,000 or more words to cover what I have wedged in my headbone. That might be terrifying to many of you, but for me, it’s really not a big deal. My greatest limiting factor with regards to production is my ‘exquisite’ keyboard skill. Putting words to paper, so the speak, comes easy to me and now that I know what I want to write about, it’ll be for me to ‘buckle down’ and throw words at those thoughts until the idea is covered. Like this update, a thought I had last night. And this morning after breakfast, just tap it out in forty-five minutes or so…
In many ways I am glad I wasn’t able to include this new material in the original book. I really wasn’t ready to write about it. I wanted to, but I lacked the confidence needed to write definitively about the topic I wanted to write on. As I was in the process of learning and transition. In the years before and between when I was writing for the first Drent book project and now I have read thousands of research quality and fully cited pages, on canine behavior. Taken online courses, watched hundreds of hours of pro-trainers work with dogs and of course work hands on with a few pros as well. Of particular importance, is to note, more research has been done on the behavior of domesticated dogs in the past fifteen years than the preceding 150 years combined. This research has changed how and what I do with my dogs and after training dogs for a little over forty years has completely changed the way I train dogs.
It is my hope to produce a guide to help my reader to not have to do what I did, it took to long and for my reader it does not have to. You will be gifted with what I have learned regardless of medium, written in my direct conversational story telling style. So when will it be ready? That my friend is a great question. I do plan to make regular updates with regard to the ‘second edition’ from here on out. That alone will help keep me accountable with the whole production effort, as I plan to do it all myself this time and self-publish under my own label. Until next time, take care.
I'm just a guy suffering with an infatuation with gundogs since childhood. Fourty some years later this is what you get.