March 2020 Update

SS Persia leaving the Thames
(c) P&O Heritage Collection
After a painting by William Lionel Wyllie

I completed the story text of the sinking of SS Persia by U-38 on a very special date – 30th December last year, 2019, exactly 104 years to the day since the tragic event. My research and writing spread over four years during which time the text grew from zero to 100,000 words and then, acting on a publisher’s advice to reduce its size, I edited down through several iterations to its current size, approximately 70,000 words.

I was foolish to think that I had now finished the project and quickly learned that I had simply completed the writing stage. Next I sent the text to a professional editor, who went through it all with a fine toothcomb, correcting errors and suggesting improvements. For example, she changed every mention of SS Persia to SS Persia, conventional in this type of book, and she also changed all the other ship names to conform. She even checked that all the web addresses for sources of information during my research actually worked and corrected those that did not. Finally, she returned the text to me with all of the changes set up for me to accept or decline, so I worked through and made decisions, the vast majority of which were to accept.

The next step was to search through my photographs and select those to use, which was challenging because I had to discard so many. For those chosen, I then had to check copyright ownership and seek permission to use those still subject to copyright a century later and to identify those in the public domain and thus available to use. This, like the editing, was a major learning experience, but I finally got down to the required number and wrote captions for them. The picture I have used above is an excellent example from the P&O Heritage collection, whose services were brilliant.

So the book is now in its final production phase both for content and cover and once these have been signed-off, the final phase would normally be printing. However, Corvid 19 has cut across our bows and with the widespread closures including bookshops, printing might not be sensible for the moment. I feel it might be more sensible to produce e-book versions first to bypass this ugly virus which I will discuss this with York Publishing over the coming days and let you know the outcome. If you have any views for or against the ebook approach please let me know.

About wren47

In my mid-teens, I was torn between careers in the Merchant Navy and journalism and pursued both until I was offered the chance to become a deck cadet and learn the skills to become a navigation officer. On the day before I left home to join my first ship, I received another offer, this time to be apprenticed as a journalist. The die had been cast and I went to sea. Much later in life, when running a Consultancy business in Project Management, I took a sabbatical and wrote a 400 page book on those skills and was bitten by the writing bug. Better later than never!
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