The Best Laid Schemes…

gang aft agley.

I like reading author blogs because it gives me insight into both their creative process and the overall publishing process.

One I like especially is Neil Gaiman’s Journal. He is funny and personable, answers emails, and writes both about being an author and his life–cats, daughters, raising bees, traveling around the world, his relationship with pandas.

But even such a prominent, successful author can see his work go rather agley.

Here’s what he posted about his recently published book, The Graveyard Book:

I’ve also heard from a few people who have misbound versions, missing or repeating a “signature” of pages: it was misprinted, on pages 248-217 the pages are backwards (which is why I listed the numbers backwards) upside down, and cut off, tragically everything bad that could happen to a book in printing as one correspondent sighs, and pages 217-248 are missing and in their place are pages 249-280 printed twice. I am hoping that this is just a fluke in the time-space continuum, but perhaps people should be advised to double check to make sure those pages are there as another points out. So check your books and if it’s misprinted, then return it to the bookshop for a correct copy. (If you got a signed copy that’s misprinted, I’ll do what I can to make sure you get a signed one to replace it.)

Even in this day of computerized publishing, even in a publishing process where dozens of people (like myself) read over the book numerous times, things can still go very, very wrong.

And for an amazing contrast to today’s word processing, watch this video on seriously old school hot metal printing. Try to count how many times things could be seriously messed up there!

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2 Comments

Filed under Books, computers, editing

2 responses to “The Best Laid Schemes…

  1. That was an interesting video…what a lot of work!

  2. I had a book with missing and doubled pages recently and the shop (The London Review of Books shop, which unquestioningly took it back with no receipt after nearly a year) reckoned that it just happened, randomly and with no visible cause! I do love Neil Gaiman, nice to know he’s got a new one out.

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