Wednesday, January 07, 2004

parody and front matter

I nearly expatriated when i read the GW poem on Of course the fun was ruined when my friend pointed out that the White House website is

You probably knew that but I didn't and maybe some other people out there didn't know it either. Could you put a warning for us slower kids?


Oh and thanks for recommending R.A. Lafferty and Gene Wolfe through the blog. Don't know if I would have found them otherwise.

Which is the danger of writing a blog entry really late at night -- I knew that too: is the "officious" site, done, I think, by the Landover Baptist people. I'd googled "Laura Bush poem" looking for the full text of that "Roses are red" thing, and that was somewhere near the top. (It's now the top one.) And I just blinked, sighed and linked to it without thinking.

So, yes, the "birthday poem" was an intentional parody. The one that Laura Bush claimed was an example of her husband's poetry, but wasn't, was not an intentional parody.

You're very welcome on the Lafferty and the Wolfe. Gene's latest book The Knight is now out. It's a fantasy, with swords and dragons and elves and giants, and a noble knight, which takes all the elements I thought were hackneyed cliches beyond redemption, and makes them new and strange and cool.

hello there Neil,
i have a publishing question for you, since i'm having an awful time finding any info on the subject. i am learning to bind books and have begun to bind my own work and will soon be doing some special hand-bound editions for an author who is a friend of mine. i have seen editions stated in so many different ways on the copy-right page (sometimes they'll do the 1 2 3 4... etc. sometimes they'll use 01 02 03 04... sometimes the list will count up or down, sometimes the numbers will alternate from side-to-side, and sometimes they'll just state "first edition"). i have never been able to decipher what it all really means and why one publisher will use one method over another. so i was wondering if you knew of any sources (on the net or otherwise) who give a good, thorough run-down of just how and why to state a books edition?
thanks so much for your time...

The page before the book starts, with the copyright notice, printing and publication data is part of what's called the front matter.

Normally it works like this:

The 1, 2, 3 4 etc refers to the printing. When the book goes back to the printer they take off the last number (so a second printing will have lost the 1 and start with a 2).

The 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06 refers to the year of publication. Something going back to press this year would have 04 as the first number.

First edition tends to refer to the edition. Some publishers lose it when the book goes back to press. Others keep it there until the book is revised or amended in some way.

If you're hand-binding books, you're probably not going to be going back to press in 2007 for your 17th edition, so you might as well simply state whatever's important to you on the page in question -- "This was printed in February 2004 in a limited edition of 100 copies" or whatever.

The book you're probably hunting for is the Chicago Manual of Style.