Monday, June 26, 2006

Goin’ to the Press and We’re Gonna to be Printed

(NOTE: The following is a memoir and as such is told using lies, misinformation, faulty geography, and plain BS. Dialog has been invented in some places and made up in others. The moral compass spins in search of a direction. Am I a book club selection yet?)

When the telephone rings late Thursday evening, the caller has to be Mr. Detroit. He calls on Thursday evening on account of his salaried position gives him weekends and he has better things to do on Friday and Saturday evenings, like chase loose women up and down the hills of San Francisco. My morals are not higher than his. Being a freelancer means every day is a workday and the workdays are very long.

“You blew the May publication date, Sal. The king of deadlines has been dethroned.”

(I made my bones in trade publishing by taking on the most absurd of deadlines and meeting them, once turning a raw manuscript into a printed book in six weeks. The procedure is known as “crashing a book,” though should be changed to “crashing an editor.” I recovered by drinking canned Guinness at my girlfriend’s apartment building swimming pool for four days, and also got a great tan.)

“Mitigating circumstances have caused me lose my crown.”

(When Cynthia Frank and I started on this project, we had the best intention to hit the May publication date. Then her designer needed cataract surgery and she had clients waving checks for Cypress House’s book packaging services. For all her good attributes, Cynthia’s one failing is responsibility to her staff. She believes they should be paid every two weeks. DOG WALKED was forced to wait while she earned the paycheck nut.)

“When can I expect my free book?”

“July is looking good. I’ve just received the final galleys.”

“Quit jabbering on the phone and get on them. No playtime until you’re done.”

Trepidation should come with the final galleys when they contain your book, except so much time had elapsed since the last set, I had forgotten I was the writer and could enjoy the process. Rebecca Woolf ( wrote a bouncy introduction about our first meeting at the Big Sur Fiction Writer’s Conference and there was a terrific plug for the Green Press Initiative to encourage use of chlorine-free, 100% post consumer recycled paper. I did like the prepublication copy of DOG WALKED, but the early version showed there were a few steps to go before the book took shape. The Cypress House staff delivered like I knew they would.

I spread the galley pages on the dining room table not used as a dining room table, made a double espresso, uncapped my red Sharpie, and went to work. Missing antecedents are inserted, italics added to make a passage clearer, and Cynthia Frank’s polite queries answered with a minimum of beard pulling. What I liked about the original idea of the book is on the pages, a hybrid of commonplace book and book-midwife-in-a-box. The typography invites the reader to take only what they need and leave the rest. After having waded through the deep waters of books on writing and publishing for the Annotated Reading List, I am happy with the ninety-six pages. Readers can get into DOG WALKED without rolling up their pant legs.

Publisher Cynthia Frank’s letter of transmittal had only one word: Woof! Oh yeah? My reply was longer.

Re: Final pages
I am pleased to be finished with the galleys and send thanks to your staff for the wonderful attention to my book. There are, of course, a few questions before sending the DOG WALKED to press.

1. Though I agree with type historian Stanley Morrison’s advice of “Black is a good color,” DOG WALKED would be greatly improved by the addition of color to the text pages. Lowercase vowels A, E, and U should be printed in Kelly green; lowercase vowels I and O in Sarum red (Pantone 485); and capital consonants S and W in Italian blue. This provides a challenge to readability the contemporary reader will enjoy.

2. Punctuation remains a problem. I understand your house style of using commas, periods, and parentheses, but DOG WALKED has special needs. Commas should be replaced by a carat, periods by a star, and the disruptive curves of parentheses straightened to slashes. These alterations reflect the spirit of the text.

3. The International Standard Book Number currently assigned to DOG WALKED, ISBN 978-1-879384-66-8, should be changed to a prime number. Many potential readers will be put off knowing the number is divisible by other than one and itself.

Let me know how you want to address these issues.
Best regards,

After the final, final corrections are done, DOG WALKED will be sent to Transcontinental Printing in the wilds of Ontario. The province is part of Canada, a mythical country where the poetry of Margaret Atwood and William Shatner’s hairpiece coexist in stately slumber. Printing will take three or four weeks, enough time for Cynthia and I to rest our butts and brains before taking on selling the beast. Writing, editing, and production are easy compared to selling. David Choi of Choi’s Home Video ( has promised to take a counter display on consignment, stuck beside DVD sets of seasons three, four, and five of SEX AND THE CITY. Literary fame is fleeting, while dumb television shows are forever.

NEXT: Promotional Considerations


Blogger GIRL'S GONE CHILD said...

Oh yeah! This is going to be grand! I cannot wait to witness the fitness!

P.S. But what did she say? About the stars replacing the periods? I rather like that actually.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Sal Glynn said...

Here are her favorite requests from writers. Every one of them needs a copy of DOG WALKED. How's that for shameless self-promotion?

1. Please change "that" to "which" throughout the manuscript.
2. What do you mean, most books have hyphenated words! Take them all out!
3. I don't want *any* blank pages in my book. Just tell me where there's space and I'll write more -- even if all you need is 2 lines.
4. I want a mirror inserted into the diecut covers. No, foil isn't shiny enough--I want to see myself.
5. But these are reproductions of my paintings, so we'll need to print the interior with 23 PMS colors.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr. Detroit here. Just wanted to say that my beloved Tigers have the best record in baseball. I have tickets for Motown and waitng for them to clinch the title. I know it's only the end of June but what the hell!! It's bee 12 long losing season for this team. Hey Sal lets celebrate at Hustler's club this weekend. I heard they imported some Brazillian maids for the weekend. There green cards are up to date. Call me I have a blank credit card.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Sal Glynn said...

Tigers, Red Sox, any team but those fink Yankees.
Let's start the weekend on Thursday night when Nicolette is dancing. She reads Pablo Neruda in the original and doesn't care who knows. I trust the charges will be paid by the company that keeps you.

6:39 AM  

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