Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Genuine Hoosier Product

Last week I saw the first hardcover editions of "So Cold the River." Always a good feeling; even better when the book has such a gorgeous cover. Beyond that beautiful face this one may seem a little on the pudgy side, sure, but I insist that it is quicker on its feet than you'd think.

I signed copies at the Hachette Book Group's massive distribution center in Lebanon, Indiana. The people there are outstanding. My thanks to Doug, Alicia, Kim, Tim, and Mike (aka Eugene) for being gracious and good-natured hosts. They put up with me for several hours, always an arduous task, and patiently answered a lot of dumb questions about the warehouse. It's an impressive facility, though I was concerned when informed that they "recycle every single one of our books." I'd hoped that at least a few were sold.

While signing, I asked where the books were printed before being shipped to Lebanon, where they are then distributed all over the country. Turns out they're printed in Crawfordsville, Indiana. This discovery no doubt provokes deep excitement for everyone. It actually did for me, though -- turns out So Cold the River was written in Indiana, set in Indiana, printed in Indiana, and shipped from Indiana. Considering all my contact with the publishing world has always been centered in New York, that struck me as a pleasant surprise.

It was fascinating to see the place, and also humbling -- there were a lot of people working very hard in there, reminders that long after the writer has typed the last word of a book, many people must invest a lot of diligence and energy into seeing it become a product. I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Ploy Siripant for her incredible work on the cover design. She tried several different ideas and looks before coming out with the beautiful final version, and I very much appreciate the effort.