Friday, January 11, 2008

proofs, subscriptions, mild publisher panic

When I was a child, the word "publisher" brought to mind the image of some immensely wealthy, powerful person wearing a suit, looking wise and stern, and having a huge immaculate dark hardwood desk in an enormous office with a leather couch at the top of some old ornate building in a big city. The publisher was the epitome of the Powerful Person, an influential and important person of letters, a mover and shaker in the world.

But no.

A publisher, I can tell you from experience, is an unkempt person who hasn't had a shower lately hidden behind untidy piles of paper and half-filled coffee cups, chained to a computer and a phone, looking frantically for a pen that works or a check or a stamp, who has just missed an appointment and realized that this month's bill payments are going to bounce unless she gets down to the bank NOW, but she's got to send out the subscriptions pronto and make sure the new delivery clerk knows where to drop off the newest edition.

Think wild hair sticking out in all directions and glasses askew, with lots of dust. And books and magazines everywhere.

THAT's a publisher.

And oh, yes, the proofs are coming in today just before she goes to the airport. Fun, no?

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