I made a stupid decision when I finished editing Modern Persuasion. I threw away the edited copies. See, I printed draft copies of the book, gave them to a few readers, and then a couple of them gave them back to me with comments. That was a brilliant idea. It allowed me to go through their comments and make adjustments. The stupid decision was when I threw each one away when I was done with it.
I wasn’t thinking of personal archives at that time. For me, the management of the feedback was more important at that time. I needed to not have those edited copies hanging around, getting mixed up with newer editions, or something like that. It was my way of keeping things organized.
Then I realized I should keep these things.
Then I kicked myself for being an idiot.
All is not lost. There were 5 printed copies and only two came back to me with edits. There are three more copies along with a couple people printed out themselves (before I realized a printed draft copy would be a better idea). I am pretty sure at least 2-3 of those will be back in my possession. So, even if I don’t get those edited editions back, I will still have the first draft of the book.
What else am I saving? Pretty much anything and everything at this point. That means contracts, notes, and anything that is printed. Right now it is just one note from one of the editors giving some of her overall thoughts and encouragement. I am debating printing out content related to publishing negotiations. This is something I probably need to chat with my publisher about (and probably a lawyer). I would love to save the evolutions of the cover, but chances are that won’t happen.
For now, I am focused on finding the missing copies of the first draft. I will share them when I get them back! Some may actually have notes in it that I didn’t even get to consider.
What do you think I should keep in the archive for Modern Persuasion? I am up for ideas! Leave them in the comments.