Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

A virtual field trip

When I was in grade school in Virginia Beach, I went on a field trip to Richmond. We visited some museums and a cigarette factory. Yes, a cigarette factory. I am so old that when I was a kid, it was considered educational to learn about how cigarettes were made. Of course, it was Virginia, a major tobacco state, but still...

Actually, it was interesting to see how they started with a big pile of tobacco and made it into a huge, long, paper-covered rope that was then cut into cigarettes. The teachers got free lighters with the name of the cigarette brand on them. Probably, most of the kids there were more interested in the machinery than in the Civil War-era museum we saw. I certainly remember both places.

I thought about this trip when I was reading this account by science fiction writer Charlie Stross about how publishing works. It's part of a series he's doing n his blog, sparked by the Amazon/MacMillan kerfuffle, to explain publishing to the public and combat the notion that authors don't need publishers.

This particular post has a wonderful list of the 17 steps in the worklfow involved in making a manuscript into a book. It is almost like describing how the cigarette manufacturing machine works. A few things truck me about the list. The first is the ubiquitous nature of MS Word, which is now a standard for manuscript revisions because its Track Changes features allows editor to highlight suggested changes in a way that the author can easily see and implement or reject them. Secondly, the term "marketing" was explained in greater detail as it relates to books. To a lot of people, "marketing" mean advertising in magazines and such, but for books, a lot of marketing happens between the publisher and the bookstore and is invisible to the public. A third thing is, the description is entirely print centric. It's about to get more complicated with the addition of ebooks to the workflow.

Fortunately, books aren't carcinogens. This is one field trip that it's safe to take. If you write, I recommend reading this series, especially if you're considering self publishing— it's good to know what steps you would need to do yourself. And besides, reading a blog is much cheaper than a trip to New York.

free hit counter

hit counter


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 28th, 2010 04:00 pm (UTC)
I am so old that when I was a kid, it was considered educational to learn about how cigarettes were made. Of course, it was Virginia, a major tobacco state, but still...

I often wonder if in Kentucky whether they'd take students on field trips to see their biggest cash crop, or their biggest legal cash crop... ;-)

Thanks for the heads up about Charlie's posts!
Feb. 28th, 2010 06:20 pm (UTC)
> ...or their biggest legal cash crop

Hah! Well, that would be a question, wouldn't it? Wonder what kind of free samples they would give the teachers?
Mar. 1st, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
Brownies. I'd bet brownies.

Feb. 28th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I haven't checked out CS's blog in a while and I missed this series.
Feb. 28th, 2010 06:13 pm (UTC)
He's not on my regular list, but GalleyCat is, and they ran a post on it. I rely on them to tell me what I need to read.
Feb. 28th, 2010 04:22 pm (UTC)
You grew up in Virginia Beach?? I go there every May for a writing-women-week. We rent a house on the beach in Sandbridge and spend a blissful week being responsible ONLY for ourselves and our writing. Ahhhh.

Do you ever go back?
Feb. 28th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
Well, I didn't really grow up in Virginia Beach for two reasons. One is, my dad was in the Navy and we never spent more than three years in one place. Second, when I lived there, I actually lived in Lynnehaven, in Princess Anne County. Right after I left, Princess Anne merged with the city of Virginia Beach to keep the city of Norfolk from annexing more of their land, including a brand new high school. In Virginia, a larger city could annex a smaller city, and that merger made Virgina Beach the largest city in the state, land-wise.

I've never been back, but my brother has. I probably should, because I am setting part of my current WIP there. If we ever meet in person, remind me to tell you my "almost in a hurricane" story.

Mar. 1st, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
I'm just jealous that you spent significant time that close to Colonial Williamsburg.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

June 2016


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow