Phew. What a month. First galley copies of THE SUPERGIRLS and JAM TODAY, and they’re all off to the 28 Consortium sales reps, who today sent ‘round their various reports on the state of the book buying nation. Fascinating. And how sensible. Every body’s got their own voice, and they’re pretty much all voices bung full of common sense. How amazingly comforting it feels to know there are all these competent people watching our back.
And the galleys went off to various to get quotes for the covers. Now THAT is the reward for all the time spent laboriously combing the manuscripts for the niggling typos that everyone missed, no matter how many times we all went over them. And for the hours spent compiling the indexes, nipping and tucking the text to make it fit properly on the allotted pages. You get a quote from somebody when you least expect it, my God, somebody you actually admire, and you sit back for a minute and think, “whew.” That’s about it. Just “whew.”
The first one we got for THE SUPERGIRLS was from Stan Lee. You can imagine how that affected Mike. I think it was probably the first thing he thought about every morning for days. And that’s on days when he had quite a bit to think about. Even without me calling up every five minutes to make some kind of change in his layouts of the books and of the really stellar catalog he’s designed for us (“I like it—it’s modest, yet grandiose…just like EAP.”)
Then there was JAM TODAY. Yeah, yeah, so I wrote it too—see the JAM TODAY blog from which it sprang. But let me tell you, being a publisher kind of trumps being a writer while you’re in the production phase, and I don’t think I thought about it one way or the other except as a piece of a project that had to be done as well as I could manage. So when I sent it out, the first time I sent it, to one of my most admired cookbook writers, it was gone about two days when I suddenly realized. Oh my God. No one’s ever read that manuscript but me. I mean, it was a little bit the overworked oldest daughter in the family, if you know what I mean—the other two books got more of my close attention; THIS one was just supposed to get on with it and help me with the rest of them. I didn’t pay her any attention. Oh my God, I thought. Both Mike’s book, and Brian’s book—which comes out in November (Correcting Jesus, EAP’s Christmas book, nice touch that)—they’d both been edited and edited and discussed and discussed. But not mine. Oh my God. What if it is an incredible piece of crap? I never asked!
So when I got back the most generous, amazing quote from Deborah Madison, I almost keeled over dead with relief. And you know what? As the publisher, not as the writer. Because the publisher was thinking, dear God, what if I was about to launch a total lemon? But the writer said to the publisher: Well. Dear. It can’t actually BE a lemon, not completely, not if Deborah Madison is willing to say nice things in public about it. Now CAN it?
By the time I got an even more heartening quote from similarly admired John Thorne, I was back to being a writer—maybe because it was two in an insomniac morning, and the publisher was beaten to hell, leaving only the writer to moon over the emails. And the pleasure I got from that quote…well. I can’t say anymore. Just…WELL.
And in other news…we may have an intern. Yes, we may have found an intern. Yes, and she may turn out to be such a perfect fit that I cannot be blamed for originally thinking she was an April Fool’s joke perpetrated by my friends, until I noticed our introductory conversation was taking place on April 2. She lives in Seattle. I’m sending her your way, Bruce of Chin Music, and Rick Simonson at Elliott Bay Books. Oh, please, Goddess, let her be as she appears. Her name is Jessica and her works are good. But more on that at a later time.
Next month: our first sales conference. New York City, just like I pictured it.