May 12, 2008


It’s a mystery to me how books get printed.

I mean, you’d think that it would be simple, right? I send my editor a Word file, he sends it over to the designers, they make it pretty, they send it to printing, they print it out and slap a cover on it, and it’s done.

Apparently, nothing could be further from the truth.

But the thing is, nobody seems to know exactly what happens. Like, not only don’t I know, my editor doesn’t know. My agent doesn’t know.

However it gets done, the weird thing is that errors—only a very few—are introduced into the text. Take, for example, the penultimate sentence on page 21, which appears in the book exactly as it was when I submitted the manuscript. But when I got the first-pass pages, the word “partner” had mysteriously acquired a plural ‘s,’ so the sentence read, “I was still foolish enough, however, to believe that sex was somehow more magical if you had seen your partners in more than one shirt.”

Which is just much less funny.

Another thing that printing almost universally messed up was diacritics. On page 70, for example, instead of salade Niçoise we had salade “Nićoise.” On page 84, the name “Castarède” had become “CastarŻde,” which I found not only bizarre but also frightening.

There are more things in heaven and earth . . .

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