October 02, 2007


Jimmy Beck

Wow--sounds like it couldn't have gone any better...I'm debating whether I should show this post to a friend who got her galleys back and wanted to slit her wrists.


Put my pre-order in today (no, really, I did). Very exciting to think I was with you in Paris while you were working on 5 & 6. Couldn't be more proud of you my friend.

Good photo. WOTEV picked out a nice combination. I can't help but feel there's something "John Grishamish" about the shot.


Craig Gamble

Hi Mark,
Very nice to hear you experiences of the publishing process, and congrats on the book becoming so nearly here. I work in a small publishing house here in New Zealand and am mostly involved in the typesetting and production side of things and believe me, the reactions of authors to receiving their first type-set proofs are as varied as the books themselves. What is very interesting though is that very few authors know how the process of making the final manuscript into a book actually works, and how much time and effort is involved to make it not only error free but a pleasure to the eye. Perhaps not many appreciate a well type set page above a well designed cover, but a good page of type can be just as big a delight.

Of course, you've left one thing off the list of things yet to be done, don't forget to start thinking nice and early about where you are going to have your launch party!, and who is going to send the book into the world!


Congrats, Mark -- this is a great write-up. It's something special to be able to observe this process taking place, and I think your faithful readers can all feel like we're sharing in your enjoyment. Can't wait to see the book!


Mark that is great! I'll look forward to getting a copy when it's published and now that you've mapped out the process of the shaping of this novel it makes it that more interesting. Sounds like you've got some good editorial backup too - which all helps!



I don't know, I think the green shirt might have been a poor choice.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • The Elegant Variation is "Fowler’s (1926, 1965) term for the inept writer’s overstrained efforts at freshness or vividness of expression. Prose guilty of elegant variation calls attention to itself and doesn’t permit its ideas to seem naturally clear. It typically seeks fancy new words for familiar things, and it scrambles for synonyms in order to avoid at all costs repeating a word, even though repetition might be the natural, normal thing to do: The audience had a certain bovine placidity, instead of The audience was as placid as cows. Elegant variation is often the rock, and a stereotype, a cliché, or a tired metaphor the hard place between which inexperienced or foolish writers come to grief. The familiar middle ground in treating these homely topics is almost always the safest. In untrained or unrestrained hands, a thesaurus can be dangerous."


  • The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald


    Penelope Fitzgerald's second novel is the tale of Florence Green, a widow who seeks, in the late 1950s, to bring a bookstore to an isolated British town, encountering all manner of obstacles, including incompetent builders, vindictive gentry, small minded bankers, an irritable poltergeist, but, above all, a town that might not, in fact, want a bookshop. Fitzgerald's prose is spare but evocative – there's no wasted effort and her work reminds one of Hemingway's dictum that every word should fight for its right to be on the page. Florence is an engaging creation, stubbornly committed to her plan even as uncertainty regarding the wisdom of the enterprise gnaws at her. But The Bookshop concerns itself, finally, with the astonishing vindictiveness of which provincials are capable, and, as so much English fiction must, it grapples with the inevitabilities of class. It's a dense marvel at 123 pages, a book you won't want to – or be able to – rush through.
  • The Rider by Tim Krabbe


    Tim Krabbé's superb 1978 memoir-cum-novel is the single best book we've read about cycling, a book that will come closer to bringing you inside a grueling road race than anything else out there. A kilometer-by-kilometer look at just what is required to endure some of the most grueling terrain in the world, Krabbé explains the tactics, the choices and – above all – the grinding, endless, excruciating pain that every cyclist faces and makes it heart-pounding rather than expository or tedious. No writer has better captured both the agony and the determination to ride through the agony. He's an elegant stylist (ably served by Sam Garrett's fine translation) and The Rider manages to be that rarest hybrid – an authentic, accurate book about cycling that's a pleasure to read. "Non-racers," he writes. "The emptiness of those lives shocks me."