Putting a book together is my favorite part of being a publisher. I sit at my desk with a stack of story pages, freshly edited and clean, and I piece the manuscript together into a cohesive book. With a single author, the process begins from the first draft they send me. I make notes and hunt for the thread that ties everything together. Often the author can't see it, but has created the unifying thread intuitively. When I show them what they've created, the author responds as if I've given away the secret of a magic trick. They didn't realize they'd done the magic themselves.
This time, I've been working with multiple authors, helping them craft stories from their experiences as Punks. Many of these authors are not writers, but they all have great stories to tell. They had to be shown the basics of how to write that story down on paper in a way that will be clear and entertaining for the reader. Most of the authors who originally submitted their stories to me two years ago have continued to work on them, taking my feedback and revising over and over and over... until at last their stories are complete. Only a few dropped out.
And now it's my turn to take those stories and create a book.
I had to decide what order to place the stories. Which one will be first? Which on last? How do I intersperse the funny stories with the sad ones? Where do I put the poetry? How many images do we have? Every story has its own pacing and tone, so where I put it will change the overall pacing and tone of the book. How do they all fit together? Or do they? And if some don't fit easily, where do I want to put them to play with that conflict?
I'm sure I'll redo the structure of the anthology numerous times before I get the right pacing for the book. The book needs a beginning, middle and end. It needs conflict and resolution. Each piece provides those elements to the whole of the book. Putting them in the right order is the important part.