• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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Hey There You With the Stars in Your Eyes

I’m thinking about subtitles and jackets and promotional copy and blurbs. I’m thinking about how hard we try to get it right, get the book “positioned” in the marketplace. I like to stalk people in bookstores and observe what books they pick up, linger over, leave or buy. Do they read the blurbs on the back cover? Read the first line or paragraph. A book is like a guy at a bar. Sure, I might like how he looks but do I want to take him home? What makes a person whip our their Visa? Even after 32 years in the book business, I feel I am a student of book packaging. I once worked for someone who always said we were “overthinking” things when we went around in circles trying to come up with the best title and subtitle. He was also fond of saying that life was too short when it was taking too long to agree on a jacket image. So what? Settle? I guess the way I feel is this: when I stop giving a shit about all this stuff it’s time turn in my blue pencil. 

When do you turn in your pencil?

5 Responses

  1. book jackets
    paper weight
    is the title font right?
    is the blurb-giver big enough to go on the front of the book? or just keep them on the back?
    wait…doesn’t this cover look exactly like that one book by that one author that came out last season?

    I’m not even in the industry & I can’t think of anything more worth thinking abt
    (my husband just now turned on his radio alarm & belinda carlisle is singing & if that’s not a sign that all of this matters i don’t know what is)

  2. “When do you turn in your pencil?”

    If I turn it in before I die, I’ve died. And I do not want to die before I die, and be among the living dead. God please save me from that.

  3. Subtitles from my craft book editing days; that was enough to make me turn my blue pencil to freelancing

  4. Only To Sharpen It. Thoreau Made Pencils, A Job He Did Not Find Out Of Line With His Philosophy. Sean X. Heaney

  5. When the body part connected to the blue pencil succumbs to arthritis I either tie it on to my hand ala Renoir’s paintbrushes or shift my obsession into a new medium.

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