Life in a Tumble Dryer

After a year of work, Life in a Tumble Dryer, Working in the World's Hottest Capital, has gone to the publisher. There's more to do before it comes out in July, but those are simpler tasks than completing the manuscript. You may wonder what that process is like. Well, here was my process for this book.

First, I used the relevant stories from my original book, Every Day But Not Some, published in 2006. However, when I finished running those stories through ProWritingAid and improving the style, language, and use of commas (my weakest point), I only had 50,000 words. I wanted the book to be 70,000. So, I pulled out the letters that I had written to my parents over those years. I discovered I had forgotten many details. In November, I wrote up new stories and ended up with 40,000 words. Whew! All the editing pared the word count down from 90,000 to 75,000.

From December through February, I edited the new stories and fit them into the existing manuscript. This new information enhanced the storyline as it provided many practical examples of what I dealt with during these years. One recurring theme was currency restrictions. Some years we could have US dollars or British Pounds, no problem. But that could change with the stroke of a pen, and it frequently did. Another theme is the weather. Khartoum, Sudan is the world's hottest capital city, and I lived there for nearly 20 years.

What was I doing in Sudan? I worked with the Shilluk people, and eventually many other languages, to help create a writing system that they could use to develop their language. We not only analyzed the language and helped produce books, but we also trained the Sudanese to do these tasks at every level. This was the beginning of the Khartoum Workshop Program, designed to empower local people to take charge of language development with skill and knowledge. It was a very exciting time.

So, what now? I have sent the manuscript off for copy editing. The publisher will then have it typeset, design a cover, and get the copyrights, ISBN, and Library of Congress registrations. For now, I'm working on getting permissions from each person I mentioned by name and for the use of any photos. I need to create the  back cover description and some front matter like the Dedication. I also need to start preparing my readers to look for the book, and have a few Beta readers. We want to find any mistakes before publication. I'm so grateful to Women in Publishing for all the education I have received about the publishing process. Thank you to Alexa Bigwharf and her team!