the state of things

 

That's Mistake And I Want It*

by Douglas Lindsay - 08:39 on 03 March 2009

(*A bad Groucho Marx joke, from A Night in Casablanca)

Working my way through the re-write of The Cutting Edge of Barney Thomson, soon to become The Barber Surgeon's Hairshirt. Not surprisingly, have already fallen behind schedule. The original plan was to finish it by the end of February. That has slipped. No smiley faces and mini Mars Bars from the over-paid consultants of KPMG for me.  The Stretch Target is a bust. I never made any other target, so now I'm free to utilise my position as the principal stakeholder to re-actualise the parameters. Or something.

Lots of mistakes in the original book, as I'm discovering. I've been told before by people, I've received one e-mail from an irate customer; someone put a review on Amazon to say how awful it is. And they're all right.

When I re-published it I (mistakenly) thought it would be cheaper to use the same printer as Piatkus and for them to use the same file as Piatkus had used. I didn't realise then how bad it was. So all those mistakes date from the Piatkus edition. I think I can remember proof-reading the text at the time, but I think I also believed that Piatkus would be getting an actual professional proof-reader to look over it as well. Instead they cut costs and outsourced the task to Eastern Europe, where the job was given to a non-English speaker.

For example, on page 277 there's a line with an asterisk at the end, the asterisk intended to lead you to a reference at the foot of the page. Except the reference is at the foot of page 279. How did that even happen? Shoddy. Shoddy of them, shoddy of me.

So, now, at last, I'm getting round to rectifying the situation. Just not entirely sure if anyone is interested other than me. Having one of those deflating wish-I-didn't-have-to-do this periods. It would be nice to just be a writer who writes, rather than a publishing jack of all trades. Currently sorting out New Zealand distribution, attendance at the London Book Fair, weighing up book distribution costs in the UK, covers for the re-launch of the series, the ins and outs of e-books, rounding up editors who might be persuaded to take another look at the series. All of which is why I'm behind the curve on the re-write of Book 2 in the first place.

And then there's The Strange Case of Solomon Green and my belated mid-life attempt at rock god-dom. And then there's the official diplomatic requirement to hang out with international mums, drinking Pims and gin, while touring factories making ethnic pottery.


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