word craft


Musings on Publication Day

The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell PittsToday, the six­teenth of May, I am hav­ing a new book pub­lished: The Unex­pect­ed Life of Oliv­er Cromwell Pitts (Algo­nquin). It has already received very fine reviews and I am hard at work on the sequel, but.…

As artis­tic events go, the offi­cial pub­lish­ing of a book is one of the qui­etest of artis­tic events. In Edward Gorey’s The Unstrung Harp–which is, I think, the best depic­tion of a pro­fes­sion­al writer’s life—he described, and showed, this kind of pub­li­ca­tion day. Very sound­less. The applause is shall we say, mute. So, anti-cli­mac­tic. I sup­pose one might have an event like the open­ing night on Broad­way (or a new Har­ry Pot­ter book in the stores) or even a gath­er­ing of friends and a glass of some­thing, but for me, tru­ly noth­ing actu­al­ly hap­pens. Well, yes, you can pur­chase the book online this day.

As I write this, where­as I have an ARC (Advanced Read­ing Copy), I have yet to have the actu­al book in my hands, which will be slight­ly dif­fer­ent. I am curi­ous: What will the heft of the book be? What kind of paper did the pub­lish­er use? How will it feel?

Yet, as I say, I am work­ing on the sequel; the next book is pret­ty much done (I just spoke to my edi­tor about adding one word) and there is yet anoth­er work, under­go­ing revi­sion. Then, too I need to be think­ing about anoth­er promised book.

Is there any art as qui­et as writ­ing? These days, hard­ly the scratch of a pen. Just tap-tap-tap.

2 thoughts on “Musings on Publication Day”

  1. Pub­li­ca­tion day for most books is not a par­ty. Anne Lam­ott has a good descrip­tion of it in Bird by Bird. The blo­gos­phere and oth­er inter­net gath­er­ing sites are places you can hear the sound of one hand clap­ping… Glad you let your friends know.
    I’m clap­ping for your latest.


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