Ok I know you will think that you have heard this before, but the book is now within 1000 words of being completely finished. I am just tying up the epilogue, and if I get a good day at it tomorrow I may wrap it up (if I dont, then, yes, it could drag on till Thursday...after which I have no leeway ... hope I am not tempting fate here).
When I say completely finished, I don't actually mean completely, of course. I mean that the creative, staring-into-the-abyss bit has been done. Enough so that if I were to collapse and die tomorrow, it could be published in my name. What still remains are some of the lengthy, nitty gritty, frustrating and anxiety making stages. I mean things like the acknowledgements, where the terror that you will forget to thank someone who has been instrumentally helpful is almost as bad as staring into the abyss, the photo-captions and selection (what are the chances of inadvertently getting one the wrong way round?), the maps (worst of all) and the Further Reading and Timeline (on which I have to say I have had some help... thank you Hannah, in case I forget later).
I suppose, I 've been wondering if you blog readers have any tips for what you like to see in these back bits of a book, which does not have footnotes. My own view is that the Further Reading section should point the reader in the direction of a) obviously "further reading" and b) give them a clear idea of where to find pieces of info or references that may not be obvious from the main text (ie if the text says "In the first book of the Aeneid, Virgil says...." then no further reference is required, on the grounds that anyone who want to can find the passage; if it says, on the other hand "Plutarch at one point mentions", it does need to indicate that it is in, say, The Roman Questions). I also intend to have a little section saying where, physically some of the objects I mention can be found.
The maps will have marked most of the places mentioned in the text (I wonder if anyone looks at them, but there you go), and the picture captions will be quite long and try to be interesting, ie they will reward the reader who is bothered to read them with extra info.
There will be no dedication I think???
Anyway, I would love to hear your loves and hates on this score.
And at the risk of self advertising, I am now prepared to point out that (much as I disapprove of Amazon in many ways) it is now pre-orderable at a good price!