Saturday, 21 June 2008

The eagle has landed

As Tom touched on below, it's one of the best parts of writing a book. When that first pristine copy arrives in the mail. And that's what happened today. What made it even better was that I wasn't expecting it until the end of the month. I think the book looks great - I especially love the jacket and keep reading the cover quotes over and over. Even the Shakespeare quote at the beginning (not the result of a good education, but stolen from a recent Eastenders episode) seems perfect.
I never thought a book about a non-league football team's 1969 season could be made to look so sexy...

Friday, 20 June 2008

Back of the Net...

And after all that effort and writing and editing and tweaking and fine tuning, a finished copy finally rolls off the printing press. One of the nicest moments in the publishing process.
Well done Dave!

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Quote Me Happy

Another part of the publishing process is to try and garner some useful pre-publication quotes for a book. This involves trying to work out which writers would be right to give an endorsement, and then pursuing them politely in the hope that they can spare you a couple of hours to read (and hopefully enjoy) the book. As you might imagine, there are some writers who are simply overwhelmed by the number of such requests: Nick Hornby, for example, has been asked so many times, he simply turns down the lot for fairness (and, I suspect, sanity); I wrote to Michael Palin last year for a quote, and got a polite letter back declining to give a quote for a completely different book.

For The Bromley Boys, the two people I thought would be perfect were the two I managed to hunt down. I commissioned a book by Match of the Day 2 presenter Adrian Chiles in a previous job (the extremely wonderful ‘We Don’t Know What We’re Doing’) and although he is fantastically busy, managed to squeeze out of him a quote. Harry Pearson, meanwhile, is the author of what I think is the greatest football book of all time, 'The Far Corner', and as I was in touch with him about another project, took the opportunity and asked if he’d be kind enough to read Dave’s book. Which he was.

The result are the following, extremely well deserved quotes:

‘Will strike a chord with football fans everywhere’ Adrian Chiles

"Agonisingly funny - perfectly captures the sad, futile, yet glorious world of the adolescent male football fan" Harry Pearson

If I saw those quotes on a football book in a bookshop, I’d pick it up.

The Burden of Proofs

It’s been a little while since I’ve written here, given that Dave and Malcolm have been busy crossing the t’s and dotting the i’s. But the publishing wheels have been grinding on in their grinding on sort of way. With the manuscript finished and the layout designed, the pages have come back from the typesetters, still on A4, but beginning to look like a proper book. At this point, the joy that is proofreading takes place – checking that none of the t’s and i’s have lost their crosses and dots in the transfer. It’s the part of the process that I don’t really have the patience for, so thank the Lord for professional proofreaders. Though in my defence, as a rule of thumb, anyone who has edited the book shouldn’t proofread it as well – because you’re so familiar with the text, you can’t really look at it with the necessary fresh eyes to spot the errors. That’s my excuse anyway, and I’m sticking to it. In theory, you should have two sets of proofs, the second to check that mistakes from the first have been taken in. In practice, to the immense frustration of production, you can quite often end up with a third, fourth set, and even more. With hopefully all the mistakes spotted, next time we see the book, it'll be the finished product.