Wednesday, 23 January 2008

Covering Notes

The other aspect of the book process at this stage, is to start thinking about the jacket. It may seem quite early, but our sales people are already sounding out bookshops about August titles, so it is important that they have something to show.

This early version came through a trawl of many, many possible photos. What I like about it is that it captures the feel of the book -- Dave's teenage wide-eyed supporter anguish -- and I think pushes the book out to the widest possible audience. The other alternative was to take advantage of Dave's wonderful collection of memorabilia, but for me, that reduces the appeal of the book to a purely football audience -- whereas in fact it is a bigger book than that.

At this stage with a jacket, we take stock of responses: if sales and bookshops like it, then we go ahead with working it up properly. If the response is more mixed, then we're back to the drawing board. The response, so far, has been extremely good, so this will probably form the basis of the cover.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

From The Top Of The First Line

Ok, so this is where I come in...

Now that I have broke the back of Dave's The Bromley Boys, scribbling notes untidily in the margins as I go along, while also trying to unravel my own childhood memories of being a Liverpool supporter in the days when John Barnes was prone to rapping and Ian Rush's moustache was still brown, I feel better equipped to begin blogging about my role as copy editor on Mr Roberts' lovingly composed prose.

My job is simple. All that is required is a complete line by line analysis of the manuscript, sticking my nose in all the nooks and crannies in the hope of gaining an insightful knowledge of the author's words and, potentially, discover some helpful tips to improve the book's overall brilliance. Along the way, you never know, I may even add in a few commas, colons and full stops and correct the odd dangerously spelt word. So far, so good though.

It's often been said that copy editing a book is a lot like cosmetic surgery – taking the skin and bones of something already brilliantly crafted and cutting, inserting – sometimes poking – it into an even more pleasing arrangement. It's an awful metaphor, I know, but copy editing isn't like making love to a beautiful woman, sadly. Once this meticulous probing is complete and the words are put to bed, Dave and I will begin our discussions on making the book look good enough to eat. and buy.

But, I'll be back blogging before then – keeping us all up-to-date with how the edit is going and what hidden gems I've discovered. As for now, it's back to reading how an infamous rabbit robbed Bromley of a well-deserved win...

Monday, 21 January 2008

The Next Stage

It may seem that I've been neglecting Dave for a couple of weeks. It's been one of those busy periods since Christmas where a lot of manuscripts have arrived at the same time -- some fantastically late, others (like Dave) early -- and it's been the fantastically late ones which have been demanding my attention.

What happens now is that the publishing process moves on to the next level. Firstly, it's time for the main manuscript to be copy-edited -- the line by line stuff now that the structural editing is complete. This I'm handing to my extremely able editor, Malcolm Croft, who'll be writing about his role shortly. Secondly, it's time to start thinking about all those additional bits and bobs that accompany the text. Dave has collected a lot of memorabilia, which we need to work out how to use. We also want to try and track down the league tables from the 1969 season: my assistant, Matt Jones, will write about his search for these. Thirdly, the sales team are starting to read the manuscript in order to think about how they're going to sell it. And finally, we are starting to think about the cover. We've got a rough visual which looks like...ah, you'll have to wait until tomorrow, when I discuss it in detail!