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Wednesday, March 14, 2001

American Gods Blog, Post 20

So I've spent the last two days doing the UK (Headline Books) galleys of American Gods. (Galleys are the output pages of what will be typeset to form the book that will be on sale. They are unbound, at this stage -- 500 numbered sheets of paper.) It was a strange and gently maddening experience as I got to discover how inconsistent I am when I write.

Aging AND ageing, 10:00 am AND 10:00am AND 10:00 a.m., jeweller and jeweler... and so on. And while I didn't mind my favourite version being in there I found it most trying that I hadn't been consistent. So I reminded myself that a something or other consistency is the hobgoblin of tiny minds and went back to the galleys.

I am getting faster, though.

And I was pleasantly suprised that the book seemed to hold my interest as a reader for the umpteenth time through it. Normally about this point in the equation I cannot even look at it again.

(There was one edition of one of my books, quite some years ago, where the galleys arrived for a paperback edition, and I looked at them and said "They had better be right, for I don't think I can read past page one without screaming". And for all I know, they were.)

So some time in the next few weeks it'll be time to do the US galleys. But for now the UK galleys have been inspected, corrected, several pages have been rescued from a swimming pool and dried out (it was windy), and I found a postal service place to UPS them -- all 7lbs of paper -- back to London.

The lady who ran the postal place was somewhat woozy. She spoke like Tracy Ullmann's Ruby Romaine character, and had a great deal of trouble focussing on things, like small print, or quite large print, or solid objects. She said she'd been an exotic dancer until her back got bad, but that was some years ago now. She told me it would cost $95 dollars to send the galleys to London. I said that she was looking at the wrong page, and that I was not trying to
import anything to the US collect. She moved the book around and squinted a lot. I asked if I could help, and took the book, and found the cost of sending the package and the price and everything. I gave it back to her. She decided that I had the wrong page. She phoned head office. They told her the price code. It was the one that I'd found for her. She came back to tell me
about it. An ant started sauntering across the counter top. She kept hitting it ("I know they're all god's creature's but that's a goddamn bug on my counter") and kept missing it, her fist always slamming down just behind where it had been. It wasn't walking that fast. Then the ant vanished entirely. She looked around for it, muttering, "Where the hell did it go?" I
picked it off her forearm, and dropped it into the bin. She told me that she'd be able to focus a lot better after her pharmaceutical break.

And I left her the galleys, hoping against hope that they will actually arrive at the offices of Headline Books on Monday, and that she won't absent-mindedly have sent them to India or somewhere.

Which reminds me...

Currently there's no real mechanism for sending questions about American Gods here yet. So if any of you do have questions for me about American Gods, go and take a look at the Well's inkwell.vue area (http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/). You can e-mail Linda or Jon or any of the guys who run the inkwell (there's a link to them at the bottom of that first page) and they'll post the questions on the inkwell topic -- 104 -- and I'll answer them there and here.

And the US part of the signing tour is more or less decided. I'll post it as soon as it's set in stone. It'll be June 19th -29th. Then there will be a UK tour in early July and a short Canadian tour in late July.

...

And the first American Gods proof has surfaced on Ebay. It's one of the UK proofs, so it has a nice cover and isn't missing the final chapter. But I was saddened to see that it's "unread" -- there aren't many of these proofs (they're few enough that Headline is having to say "no" to people who want them now), and the whole point of sending them out is so that people -- booksellers or journalists -- can read them, not so that they can make a quick buck off them.

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