Ernest Hemingway on writing: “For a long time now I have tried simply to write the best I can. Sometimes I have good luck and write better than I can.”
If you’re curious what publishers are talking about when they reference the “bluelines” of a book, these are the bluelines for It: The 25th Anniversary Special Limited Edition by Stephen King, which Cemetery Dance Publications will be publishing later this month:
This is the official approval copy the publisher gets from the printer and, as you can see, these days they aren’t blue, but they serve the same purpose. This stack of loose papers represents the way the text will be presented on the pages of the book. You look the pages over to make sure nothing got lost in translation between when you finalized the design and when the printer loaded everything up on their end. The pages are printed in black and white, even if there are color elements to the page design. Color artwork that will be tipped into the book is also not included, although you are sent separate proofs for them.
For more complicated projects, you have the option of asking for a “folded and gathered” proof. This is done after you approve the bluelines. The F&G is printed on the same presses that will be printing your actual book, so to create the F&G, one copy of the book is basically run off the press all by itself. The F&G includes everything the final book will: all color elements, the artwork that will be tipped in, etc. Here is what the F&G for It by Stephen King looks like:
Those are the real pages and the real artwork, printed on the real paper stock that will be used for the book. The pages are grouped in their signatures of 8, 16, or 32 pages, but they are not yet bound together.
So the F&G is essentially the final book, just without a binding. It is the absolute last chance to fix any problems.
John D. MacDonald on writing: “If you want to write, you write.”
Even Stephen King, one of the bestselling authors of our time, had to start somewhere:
As I mentioned a while back, Lonely Road Books will be publishing a special Limited Edition of The Exorcist: The 40th Anniversary Revised Edition by William Peter Blatty. The book sold out just 30 hours after it was announced, which is excellent for the collectors who managed to snag a copy, and production is moving along smoothly. In fact, today I’m extremely pleased to unveil Caniglia’s incredible cover painting for the book, which I absolutely love:
Caniglia is now working on the interior artwork and I’ll try to post a few more samples between now and publication. Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments!
So has everyone heard about “Assassin of Secrets” by Q.R. Markham (real name: Quentin Rowan), which was recently published by Mulholland Books, an imprint of Little, Brown in New York, and which was then very quickly pulled from stores because it contains some of the most blatant acts of plagiarism anyone has seen in a long time?
If not, here’s a New York Times article.
Here’s the James Bond message board where readers first discovered the plagiarism.
Jeremy Duns, an author of spy fiction, was left somewhat embarrassed by his involvement with Quentin Rowan and has written two posts on the topic. You can read them here and here. They’re extremely interesting and well-thoughtout posts.
And be sure to read the “customer reviews” on Amazon where readers had more than a few choice words to share.
Here’s what Quentin Rowan had to say to The New York Daily News about why he was writing a spy thriller:
There was a bunch of books by people who were technically my peers that felt showy and one-note. Maybe I had to dumb it down… There was a huge literary swirl around me… I always felt a part of that and also apart from it at the same time. Paul Auster was in all the time… With the economy so bad, there’s no room for a writer to worry about selling out… People who were writing thoughtful short stories about suburban malaise are now writing vampire stories.
Mediabistro reprinted part of Quentin Rowan’s confession from the comments section of Jeremy Duns’ blog posts:
“Once the book was bought, I had to make major changes in quite a hurry, basically re-write the whole thing from scratch, and that’s when things really got out of hand for me. I just didn’t feel capable of writing the kinds of scenes and situations that were asked of me in the time allotted and rather than saying I couldn’t do it, or wasn’t capable, I started stealing again. I didn’t want to be seen as anything other than a writing machine, I guess.
You can read the entire email exchange on Jeremy Duns’ blog.
So why am I posting this? Two reasons:
1) Like many who are interested in the publishing business, I’m intrigued when this sort of thing happens. It took sheer, dumb luck for Quentin Rowan to get as far as he did with his ruse.
2) Here’s what I tell young writers who contact me and ask for my advice about how to get started in this business: Ultimately, I believe writing is about practice, learning the language and finding your voice. It’s not easy. Not everything you write, especially the early stuff when you’re getting your feet wet, needs to be shown to the world. What you write and why you write it is your own business, and the writing has to come first. But if you’re not writing, you can’t be a writer.
Like so many people in the world today, Quentin Rowan wanted to take a short cut. He couldn’t be bothered to write his own book. In fact, he felt authors like Jonathan Safran Foer were “showy and one-note.”
Well, Quentin, no matter what you think of their writing, at least they actually wrote their books.
My short story, “Among Us,” which I wrote in college, has been published in Allen K’s INHUMAN MAGAZINE #5. This is a huge issue — more than 200 pages — and Allen Koszowski did a great job, as always. If you want to read some good old-fashioned monster horror, this is the magazine for you. I didn’t find the cover or Table of Contents anywhere on the web yet, so here they are:
NO. 5 FALL, 2011
san diablo. Lisa Morton 4
soul-eater. Jill Bauman 13
lachesis . Monica J. O’Rourke 14
dragon people. Bruce Boston 23
homebody. Tim Waggoner 24
Dead Reckoning. Don D’Ammassa 35
Bernice. James S. Dorr 44
A Slow Corruption. Jon Hansen 51
Talent Does What It Can. Wrath James White 55
Donating. Pamela K. Kinney 60
mythos art gallery . 65
Mandy-Lu. Donald R. Burleson 73
The Lion of Orkahaugr. Christopher M. Cevasco 81
Love in a Time of Zombies. Darrell Schweitzer 92
Burden of Guilt 3: Growing Pains. James A. Moore 93
Scarecrows in the Nebraska Moonlight. Tim Curran 117
three barbers— No waiting. John Maclay 128
We Are the Monsters Now. Darrell Schweitzer 130
The Devil’s Vein. Ron Breznay 140
An Outsider. John Pelan 160
Among Us. Brian Freeman 173
The Carousel . Roman Ranieri 187
bloom where you’re planted. Cody Goodfellow 201
Pick and Grim. Michael Shea 152
skinflowers. David Gerrold 181
Prowl. Barry N. Malzberg 197
from the vault. Editorial by Allen K.