The Finns in Michigan is now on its way to the presses. The book is set to arrive on shelves in April of 2009.
(The image is one that did not make the final cut, but none-the-less is pretty interesting. It is an image of the reviled one-time Governor General of Finland Nikolai Bobrikov. The Finns especially detested Bobrikov because he ushered in some of the late 19th and early 20th Century Russification programs designed to intensify subjugation of Finns in the Russian empire. The Finns responded to these programs by assassinating Bobrikov in 1904.)
Thinking back on the process, I have the utmost respect for editors and the editors who worked on The Finns, Kristine Blakslee and others from Michigan State University Press, were absolutely amazing. I cannot thank them enough for turning my ideas into a coherent narrative.
As I wrote earlier, the process from idea to page to book is pretty involved. I'll detail it here...
This process of writing The Finns started when I ran across a non-descript folder in the Finnish American Historical Archive. The materials were early correspondences between a previous author and Michigan State University Press for Finns in Michigan. The author had began the process of writing and then given up on the book. I still haven't figured out why, but the contract lapsed and the book was sitting out there waiting to be written.
This is a link to the series web site: http://msupress.msu.edu/series.php?seriesID=1
I made some inquires around the area to make sure the previous author was out and then contacted Art Helwig, series editor. After talking with Art and noting that The Finns would have a great audience, I set to contacting the necessary folks to get the ball rolling. After speaking with Art, I contacted Julie Loehr at Michigan State University Press, studied the "Peoples in Michigan Series" to see if what I had as a vision for the book would fit. It did and after getting the pertinent info together and contracts signed I thought well this has been easy so far...
That all changed with the writing and editing. I started my first draft in September of 2007 and worked on that to rough draft completion for about half a year. I last modified the draft in April of 2008. The first official edit occurred prior to April 08 and in between the first guided edit and the final draft submission on advice of the MSU-Press staff, I added and subtracted a number of things including a small section on suffragette, temperance crusader and women's activist Maggie Walz and more information about Finns in downstate Detroit area.
After the final draft was okayed it went to production. From production I got back page proofs, which are a sort of book draft. I looked that over and at this point you can only make critical corrections. I did two and then the page proofs were done. When all the pages were in a final order, it was time to do the index. I did that process myself and that is pretty time consuming as well. Once the index was done, the book was ready for print. A long process, but well worth it. I'm very happy with the outcome and working with the good folks at MSU-Press was great.