by Mark Tavani, editorial
When I took my first job in publishing, I was finishing a seminar at one of the country’s best writing programs. So my giddiness at being told I would be paid to do something I loved was tempered by the fact that I had to deliver that news to my professors. Of course the relationship between writing and publishing is symbiotic, but symbiotic relationships can be complicated. The plover bird cleans the teeth of crocodiles, for instance, and both benefit (to the bird, a meal; to the crocodile, clean and healthy teeth), but I still imagine that little plover sometimes gets nervous as he ties on his metaphorical napkin. One of my professors was so blunt as to say, “So you’re joining the Dark Side, huh?” As if Darth Vader had been harsh about Luke’s grammar and novelistic structure. As if the Emperor had set stingy ad budgets.
The main concern, though, seemed to be that I would, by virtue of joining the publishing world, lose my pure love of books. As another of my professors once said, “If you want to be a novelist, learn how to whittle.” In other words: Don’t do something kind of like writing if you intend to write because it will drain you and make you hate books!
More than 12 years later, I feel qualified to say that they, my professors, those brilliant and passionate people, were really, really wrong.
Case in point: Yesterday I received first copies of Timothy L. O’Brien’s wonderful debut historical thriller THE LINCOLN CONSPIRACY, which we will publish next month, September 18th. I think it looks excellent, equally eye-catching and classy, and that goes beyond the dust jacket (which Mystery Girl revealed in her post yesterday). Witness the smartly chosen colors of the book itself. Witness the rough-cut pages. Witness the alluring title page, featuring Alexander Gardner’s famous and moving image of President Lincoln.
At any rate, a brief note to say that, in my experience, it doesn’t get old.