Diary of a Trade Book (Newton and the Counterfeiter) 7.0: Pub Day!

So, Newton and the Counterfeiter is officially published as of today.

It has, to be sure, been shipping from Amazon for a couple of weeks now, and has been in at least some brick-and-mortar stores for most of that time as well, but the significance of the date is (a) that in theory at least, every bookstore that ordered the title should have it now, and (b) the book trade, and especially the reviewing end of it should be falling over itself to bring my precious box of words to the attention of the reading public.

Or not.

I’m going to step back tomorrow and do a piece about my attempt to think about publicizing the book early in the writing process.  I’ll get to the issues of reviewing from a writer’s perspective as well, if not tomorrow then early next week.  (And I’ll page reviewer/science journalist extraordinaire Rebecca Skloot to weigh in, if she will.)

For now, I just want to do two things.

First, this is a diary, and it is today, and my book is finally out in the world.

It has been quite a haul.

I started work on the proposal in January of 2005; I started researching in earnest that summer, and had most of my material in hand by the following spring.  I completed the bulk of the writing between the summer of 2006 and late 2007.

My manuscript went to my editors for the first time in early 2008, and I received the edits from both my English editor, Neil Belton, and my American one, Becky Saletan by early summer.  I couldn’t finish my response to that edit before a long-scheduled family trip to South Africa, so I bought a netbook (the Acer One, in case anyone cares) and transferred my entire book folder into Open Office from Microsoft Word (worked a treat — Linux forever!)* and in evenings before drinks after a day looking at impala, zebras and rhinos, I’d pound away, finishing in a marathon 14 hour session in an apartment in Johannesburg at the end of August.

Copy editing, galleys, cover comments and the rest took up most of the fall and into winter.  Bound galleys hit in March; I held my first copy of the finished book at the beginning of May (more on that, tomorrow, too).  A couple of early reviews came in, along with a lovely beach-read notice in New York magazine, and now it’s out.  I can’t do anything more to what’s inside the outcome of so much effort.  It’s just out there, on its own.

I’ve done this four times by now, and this feeling is the same:  bemused, exhausted satisfaction, mixed with a kind of disembodied terror, a shadow of what I feel as a parent.  My book is in the world, and will have to make its way.

I hope it has a happy life.

That’s all for now…useful stuff, I hope, tomorrow.

Image:  Claude Vignon, “Croesus** Receiving Tribute from a Lydian Peasant,” 1629

*tip of the hat to Neal Stephenson, whose words here got my dander up enough to insist on Linux in my new toy.

**as in that degree of wealth to which writers aspire.

Explore posts in the same categories: good books, Isaac Newton, Newton and the Counterfeiter, Publishing, Self-aggrandizement

3 Comments on “Diary of a Trade Book (Newton and the Counterfeiter) 7.0: Pub Day!”

  1. Sean Carroll Says:

    Congrats!

    I’ve decided that my personal threshold for “it’s for real” will be when I see my book physically in a book store. But I suppose the official publication date also has some significance.

  2. Ian Preston Says:

    Congratulations. I am looking forward to getting hold of this and reading about Newton’s economics, though apparently it doesn’t come out in the UK until August.

    I have a query though. The UK edition seems to have an image of the Tower of London overlooking the Thames as I imagine it might have appeared in Newton’s day. Why then illustrate the cover of the US edition with an image of Victorian/Edwardian London? As far as I know the Clock Tower of the Palace of Westminster and public gas lighting on the Embankment were both erected in the nineteenth century, so Newton and Chaloner would never have viewed such a scene. Is it meant to evoke recollections of classic detective fiction? (I ask this especially since your considered selection of images to illustrate your thoughts is such a distinctive and pleasing feature on this blog).


  3. […] Jump to Comments I can’t help myself the subtitle of Thom Levenson’s new book Newton and the Counterfeiter irritates the hell out of me. Before I explain, this is not a review of Thom’s book; I shall […]


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