Tuesday, 12 June 2012

The book is here!

You couldn't make it up. I just sat down at the computer to blog about the advance proof copy of Breastfeeding: stories to inspire and inform that I got over the weekend. I wrote one line, then a UPS van pulled up outside the house to deliver three boxes of finished copies, all ready for the launch of the book during Breastfeeding Awareness Week.

There's something magical about opening a box full of books straight from the printer. At that moment, everything is possible: the book might be a bestseller, it might be critically acclaimed, it might spark debate or eventually be televised... it's a moment full of promise and expectation.

As an editor, normally at this point I have the satisfaction of a job well done. I will have spent months working on the book, shaping the contents, proofreading every line, meticulously checking the jacket for errors. To see that box full of attractively bound books is a moment of real pride - we've created something worthwhile that will be handled, read and shelved by others, who will hopefully be inspired (and informed!) by the contents. I like to pick up the top copy and leaf through, to satisfy myself that everything is just as it should be.

Sometimes, of course, it isn't. Memorable disasters from my editorial career include the author's name spelled wrong on the spine of the jacket, the football club manager's name spelled wrong on the inside flap of the jacket, and a book in which half the pictures were not printed, leaving blank picture boxes scattered throughout the text. The fact that these days our books are print-on-demand has at least simplified the correction of errors - it is now a matter of uploading a corrected version of the file to the printer. There is nothing worse, as an editor, than realising that an error that has been made by you is apparent for all to see on every copy of a 3,000 (or more) print run. And you can bet that the worst errors are made on those books with the tightest deadlines, where there is absolutely no way of obtaining corrected finished copies in time for the publication date.

Happily, I can see no problems with Breastfeeding: stories to inspire and inform. This isn't the end of the story for me, however. This time, as editor and publisher, it's very much my responsibility what happens next: I need to get cracking on the marketing side to a far greater extent than I normally would. I need to send out review copies, identify places where the book might be sold, prepare press information and think about related articles.

There's so much to do, and no guarantee of success. But at the moment, with my box full of books, it feels like anything could happen.

1 comment:

  1. Both nerve-wracking and exciting, I'm sure! Looking forward to having that experience myself one day :-)