Over the past three years, most of the work on my new book “You’ll Know When You Get There: Herbie Hancock and the Mwandishi Band” has consisted of listening to and writing about music, talking with musicians, thinking about context… in short, rather solitary endeavors. This week, the book changes hands and begins a very different life with the members of its newly organized production team at University of Chicago Press. My editor, Elizabeth Branch Dyson, told me that the raw materials I submitted (text, images, musical examples) were “received with warmth and enthusiasm” by the team. Their discussion took place while listening to the tune from which the book derives its title. Happily, they all agreed that my chosen title is the right one. I will soon begin to receive the (lightly) edited manuscript in its completed form for my review.
Creating a book is a larger affair than most of us realize. In addition to the overall editor, her assistant and the manuscript editor, the production team includes a designer, production coordinator, and promotions manager. And of course there are all the steps involved with manufacturing and distribution. You’d think that writing a book means, well, just writing it! In fact, several dozen people have already contributed to the research, reminiscing, text editing, and reflection process that has gotten the book to the present moment. This will be a book with a lot of acknowledgements!
University of Chicago Press’s designer will craft a cover using a wonderful image of Herbie by Danish photographer Jan Persson. I am delighted that the designer liked the image I selected. As you will eventually see, its quite special. The book will include ten additional photographs of Herbie alone and with the band, most of them taken by photographers Veryl Oakland and Don Nguyen between 1971 and 1973. My editor and I spent a fair bit of time reviewing possible photographs. I’m quite delighted with the final choices we agreed upon and grateful to the photographers and, in some cases, people who located photographs in their collections. Locating the right photographs took a fair bit of detective work and among the acknowledgements you’ll see in the book will be people who helped point me in useful directions.
After the completion of editing and design, the book will enter production in two months. This will include, among other things, layout (including inserting the musical examples I notated), By the end of this calendar year, I will have reviewed the page proofs and create an index. Completed books should be ready to enter the world in less than a year from now, in July 2012. Soon after, it will hopefully be in your hands! I’ll continue to keep you posted along the way.