- Fred Barnes
And so week before last, I got typeset page proofs of the book sent over from Macmillan. And after proceeding to ignore them for several days, then struggling to spend several evenings (or parts thereof) not drinking, so as to be in compliance with the old writerly adage to "write drunk, edit sober", I finally got these done and off my desk yesterday. It was my first look at the book after the editing, copyediting, and typesetting processes . . .
Here's the funny thing: I can remember, years ago, when I was writing this thing (my first book), fantasizing about one day getting page proofs couriered over for my review . . . well, let me tell you, there's nothing glamourous about it. At all. First of all, they're not on glossy paper just regular old printer paper. Secondly, reviewing them, I found, was simply another repetition of the routine I've gone through about 692 times over the better part of a decade sitting there with a red pen, re-reading prose I'm really very sick of, marking a never-ending flood of typos, formatting issues, and years-late-to-the-party changes of heart about word choice . . .
But at least it's done! (I think.) We go to press in October. And I had a couple of nice surprises about support for the project. The thing is, I'm under an imprint which my friend Peter memorably characterized as being "for special needs authors": Macmillan New Writing. So, aside from the unlikelihood of there being much, if any, marketing budget behind the book, I had actually got under the impression that there would be, like, a generic design for the books in this series. So, I'd actually taken a flier at some graphic design myself which I threw on a starter web site for the book when my editor (whom I adore, by the way, he's a complete prince) sent over cover artwork! He even told me the guy who they got to do it is "one of the best book designers in the business". That was a surpise! And the word "bestseller" even slipped his lips at one point albeit in a very tongue-in-cheek fashion. But still. Anyway, please send everyone you've ever known by the site. Throwaway comments about bestsellerdom aside, I'm going to need all the help I can get even just to sell enough books so that I might ever get another one published. (The only thing more hopeless than a never-published novelist is a novelist who has had exactly one book published, and that didn't sell . . .)