This past week I received the Text Block for my forthcoming book, Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery. This wonderful gift came as an email attachment from Billie Johnson, the superb publisher of Oak Tree Press, which will be publishing Hooperman this coming November.
I immediately set all my other work aside and devoted two full work days to proofreading the Text Block. For those unfamiliar with the process, a Text Block is what we old-fashioned publishers used to call “galleys,” or “page proofs.” They used to come printed on paper. Since I’m not eagle-eyed when I read a book on a screen, I printed out the text and did my proof-reading on paper. And what a pleasure that was!
For one thing, seeing the book designed and (after a few corrections of errors—my errors) ready for print gave me the thrill of knowing this novel, which took so long in the writing and editing and polishing processes, is really going to be born! This must be like how an expecting mother must feel when she sees a heart-beating ultrasound image of the baby she has on board.
The second thrill I got from reading the proofs of Hooperman was finding out that I really like this book! It’s good! (Please forgive me, but proud is the mood I’m in.) The chapters start with hooks and end with cliff-hangers. The characters are humorous and loveable, except for the few who are detestable. Hooperman is funny, but it’s also packed with important issues and ideas. This pride I feel from seeing its pages beautifully designed reinforces the fondness I had for the novel in manuscript. I cannot wait to see the book when it’s printed and bound.
But of course I must wait. Meanwhile, though, I’m going to crank up the promotion process. Billie assures me I’ll be receiving advance reader copies of Hooperman; I’ve ordered twenty. When I get them, I’ll ship them off to a well-picked list of reviewers in the mystery media.
Billie also tells me that the book’s cover design is in the works, and when I receive it I’ll be sending it out with press releases and blog posts to all the personal and important contacts on my list. So get ready to hear more about Hooperman: A Bookstore Mystery.
Meanwhile, here’s the illustration that will adorn the front cover. This painting, “The Librarian,” by André Martins de Barros, looks a lot like the main character of Hooperman, who also looks a lot like I looked during the summer of 1972, when the story takes place.