Looks like I've found a publisher and chosen a title. Blue Note Books, a small publishing house, is very excited about this project. The title: Leroy Hog Cooper on Sax.
We have set a very aggressive schedule with a target date of October 15 to have books in hand. My to do list is as long as my grocery list but one by one I'm picking the items off the shelf and crossing them off.
Yesterday I sent a "Request for Permission" letter to Perseus Books asking if I could use a quote from page 302 of Brother Ray where Ray Charles speaks about Leroy Cooper and his contribution to Ray's success. My hope is to use that quote on the back cover so that Leroy's fans will know just how Ray Charles felt about his long-time bandleader. The quote also mentions other members of the band, some of whom I have spoken with and have received permission to use their interviews in the book.
Now I'm moving on to requests to use photographs of Leroy taken with Ray Charles during the '60s. Both photographers are French and knew Leroy to some degree. Their pictures would add another dimension to photos taken in the last years of Leroy's life.
I've lined up 3 professional authors/editors to handle that process and next week I'm pursuing the issue of cover art. I want to oversee that process personally since I have a vision for my book.
Check! Check! Check! I have lined up a row of dominoes and when the check marks are next to every item on the to do list and the book goes to the printer, I'm going to tap that first one and watch them all fall, pop a balloon and eat some cake with buttercream frosting. Yum.
Then the first half of the work is done, leaving the second half which may require more work than the initial steps: marketing the book. I have a marketing strategy but am still fine tuning the plan itself which will become an ongoing project. Once the first printing is sold, (hopefully within the first month -- I have been known for my optimism) we will move on to the next printing. By then I will have a stack of excellent reviews and endorsements to select from for the back cover, if I have room.
Somewhere, I have to leave room for my little tiny head shot to give myself some credit. Leroy gave me the story but I'm doing all the work. I don't like the sound of 'ghostwriter' since I am not a ghost, I am a writer. The inability to edit someone else's words is the part of writing a memoir that makes it frustrating, but I can cope. It's not about ego. It's all about Leroy.