Civil War News Review

For the newest review of Stand to It and Give Them Hell go to this site:

While you are at it, consider purchasing Mr. Jorgensen's excellent micro-history, Gettysburg's Bloody Wheatfield, which is now available in Kindle, Nook, and iTunes formats.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Credit Where Credit is Due

There is so much more to writing and publishing a book than the manuscript, the author, and the final draft. I would like to delude myself in thinking that I am a reincarnated Wolfgang Mozart, who never rewrote any of his compositions because they were perfect the first time, but I cannot. As a book reviewer for Civil War News, I complain about the poor writing and lack of editorial work in far too many of the new releases.

Despite all of my published books, until I went through the publishing process with Savas Beatie on my recent release Stand to It and Give Them Hell, I had never worked with a developmental editor or a production manager. Ted Savas, the managing director of the press, assigned to me Tom Schott in the former capacity, and Lee Meredith is the company's production manager. Ted selects the basic design, and Lee implements it, handling the formatting, placement of maps and photographs, captions, and final design tweaking of the book. Stand to It and Give Them Hell looks as good as it does because of Lee's all-too-often overlooked role in producing a very polished book.

.The developmental editor has the difficult nitty-gritty task of polishing a manuscript into something ready to go to the production manager. In my case, Tom Schott was much more than a copy editor. Stand to It and Give Them Hell is a tribute to Tom Schott’s expertise.

Tom took a rough manuscript from a writer who had never worked with a developmental editor and honed it for my readers. He checked and corrected far more than my typos. He scoured the work word-by-word, line-by-line, one tedious footnote after another.
Tom did many things. He . . 
         Rewrote awkward sentences.

         Questioned the reasoning behind assertions I had made.

         Showed me the proper way to construct footnotes to better meet SB's guidelines.

         Helped me better organize a bibliography.

         Deleted unnecessary descriptions.

        Hounded me, quite rightly, to review confusing sentences.

        Moved parts of the text into the notes, and some text from the notes into the main text, etc.

Tom's hard work turned what I thought was a good battle book into a much better one.

Stand to It and Give Them Hell is a tribute to the professionalism of a press like Savas Beatie, demonstrated specifically by the likes of Lee and Tom, two professionals who usually work in the shadows without the attribution they so richly deserve. Their personal dedication to produce a book worth owning is laudatory. They, as well as the many others who work behind the scenes, deserve every bit of credit for their hard work.

These two gentlemen are a credit to Savas Beatie LLC.

John Michael Priest


  1. Thanks Mike. We enjoyed working with you as well.

    Your appreciation and gratitude are rare traits. I hope we work together again.

    1. Thank you. I learned so much. I appreciate your hard work and dedication.

  2. Well, Mike, this is certainly far more than I could have ever hoped for by way of advertisement and appreciation. You were a joy to work with, and not only because you had an excellent manuscript, but because you understood and accepted the process totally. Believe me, I've encountered far more challenging tasks working with writers than you set me. Thank you very much for the kind words.