Since I just mentioned the fact that one of my books is going over to paperback (after being out in only hardback for 2 1/2 years), I thought I’d share a bit of fun. Well, for the previous general history of daemonology, I had a bit of a problem with the images. Famous British University Press asked me to provide an image for the dusk jacket, so I did. An intriguing image that subtly alluded to the content. Well, when the book came out, much to Keyser’s surprise, the image he’d provided wasn’t there at all! Not only was the one I picked not there, but the one that was was completely unsatisfactory. It was a 19-cent. neo-Classical painting of a famous and fictitious anecdote pertaining to early daemonological lore. Well, that’s precisely the sort of thing that isn’t in the book. So I was pretty miffed. As it turned out, the genii in marketing didn’t like my intriguing image and substituted it with something “splashy” but totally inappropriate.
So, when the next book on daemonology was in press, I decided to forestall any such problem. So I emailed the editor to say that I had exactly the right image. How’s about using it? Well, I was told, that sounds great, but (this was back in the immediate aftermath of the economic disaster of the fall of 2008) FBUP was pretty much going bust (apparently there were memos going around telling people to make sure to save money by turning out unused lights!), so no dice on spending mucho dinaros on the cover. Well, okay, I replied, what if I paid for the cover? At first that was a go. Then I got a new message. Turns out the genii in marketing had already cooked up a cover, so no go on my idea. And what they did was dispense with a dust jacket altogether (apparently they’re a waste of money, since FBUP expected few people outside of libraries to buy the book, and libraries just chuck out the dust jacket anyway; at $105 a copy, they’re not doubt right). And as it turned out, the cover “image” they cooked up was terrible. Basically, just the title of the book with truncated Ionic columns on either side. It looked like some ten-year-old’s effort at making a birthday invitation with ClipArt that came with his Dell computer. It was really disappointing.
But the editor did say that we could maybe go with my idea for the paperback. So I kept nagging to find out when we’d get the okay to make the switch. The image is a painting in the Uffizi in Florence, and while the Italians are reputed for many things, lightning bureaucratic efficiency ain’t one of them. And believe you Keyser, it’s a big nuisance to get an image with appropriate legal permission for publication (you can’t just pull what you want off the Interwebz). So, I wanted to know in advance when we’d be likely to have the go ahead, so I could try and get permission in advance.
“Are we there yet?” “In a minute.” “Are we there yet?” “In a minute.” “Are we there yet…?”
Well, then out of the blue, I get an email two weeks ago saying the paperback is coming. Mamma mia! The paperwork has been sent to Italy, and we’ve heard… niente. Maybe they’ll get back to us tomorrow. Maybe we’ll never hear. But until we do, we can’t do anything.
And just to be a further pain in the ass for FBUP, I decided to put together a dust jacket myself on the computer. Looks pretty good if you ask me. Not the work of a ten-year-old farting around with ClipArt! I actually sent it to the press. We’ll see what the genii in marketing have to say. Maybe they’ll improve it. Maybe they’ll chuck it out and use some piece of crap of their own again.
I wish it were possible to show you my creation. But that would rather subvert the whole purpose of using a pseudonym, which is that considerations of national security would dictate the “termination with extreme prejudice” of anybody who figured out the “real” identity of your humble correspondent, which wouldn’t be at all a friendly act after everything we’ve been through.