Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Tidbits on the art of book production

NYC last week, in addition to my visit to The Gates, was most interesting for me. I spent some time at my publisher and, amongst other matters concerning the June trade paperback release of my novel, they solicited my opinion about the book's jacket and inside contents. I was so thrilled because most first authors would give their eye teeth to have a teensy-weensy bit of say about that sort of thing. As a result, I'm learning much about the processes involved in launching books.

For example, they've decided to retain the artwork that appears on the hardback's cover because it proved very effective in the bookstores but asked me about the font and font size in which the book's title, A Son Called Gabriel, is written. Apparently, while it appeared appropriately literary and had a definite Irish feel, (I was so happy they didn't resort to shamrocks, harps and other such cliches to convey its Irish theme)it did not look as great after the book left the front of the store and went into the fiction bookshelf, albeit face-out. It appears it was difficult for browsers to read the title from a distance, which I can fully understand because I'm pretty short-sighted. Attracted by books that have the title done in foil, I asked if it would be possible to have this on my paperback--expected an automatic 'no'--and I am glad to say they said they'd definitely look into it. So the font will definitely be different and also larger, but the issue of foil or no foil will be decided at a later date.

A book production fact I also learned was that it's not just a matter of adding one or two pages to a novel if the publisher wants to, say, include loads of review excerpts, a readers guide for the benefit of book clubs and other such things. Page inserts come in groups (sixteen or twelve, I can't remember which) and, if one uses only four of the additional pages, then there will be loads of blank pages in the final version of the paperback.

Other tidbits I'm uncovering is that there is an optimum time to send the book to magazines and newspapers for review. Magazines such as January Magazine or Entertainment Weeklytend to have longer lead times--around three to four months as a rule of thumb--while newspapers like The New York Times and LA Times have a shorter lead of four to six weeks approximately. All very interesting stuff. I'll keep you updated on other developments as the Trade Paperback makes its way to the bookshelves.

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1 comment:

Tisha from Texas said...

Congratulations! I will check on you from time to time. My own manuscript is being considered at this time which means I am waiting for the flurry of rejections. Please tell me it gets better or I will drown myself in Dr. Pepper.