EAnotes

Archive for the ‘Things You Never Knew’ Category

Watching the Presses

Monday, July 22nd, 2019

It’s quite something to see the book that you’ve worked on for so long rolling off the presses – but that is what I did last Thursday. I went with Granta’s publishing director, Bella Lacey, to CPI Books in Kent to visit their plant and to watch the printing of all the 5,000 hardbacks that were to be printed for the first print run of Warrior: A Life of War in Anglo-Saxon Britain.

Having heard for so many years about the death of manufacturing industry in Britain, it was great to see a factory, employing 150 people, that has gone from strength to strength. Indeed, talking to Mark, the sales director, who took us round the plant, we learned that they have had to employ more people to cope with the demand. Because of their ability to print anywhere from one to a million books, the very quick turnaround they provide from receiving the files to printing the books, and the much lower transportation costs, CPI has turned back the tide of jobs flowing to China. The presses are rolling 24 hours a day, six days a week, with the company producing between two and three million books a week!

We were taken through the whole print cycle, from the production of the print type for 32 pages of the book (which is why books are produced in multiples and factors of 32), through to printing, folding, cutting, binding and covering the books. For the last stage, we got to see Warrior itself go from a shrink wrapped pile of bound pages to the fully jacketed finished product, ready to go off to the booksellers. It was a fascinating and enlightening day: my thanks to Granta and CPI Books for making it possible. Here are some photos of the process.

Bella inspecting the photo typeset

The typeset from which the book is printed.

Pages being printed.

Printed pages running through the production line.

Pages being made ready for cutting.

Pages now cut into 32 page sections ready for binding.

All the printed sections of a book, ready for binding.

One of the huge rolls of paper used to print books.

Warrior, with its cover on, ready for it to be bound tightly.

The next pallet of Warriors, waiting to be bound.

An author with his books (the gentleman behind has seen it all before!).

Printed Warriors, ready for the final stages of binding.

Finished copy of Warrior. Now all it needs is its jacket.

Putting on the jackets.

Jacketed and bound copies of Warrior rolling off to be stacked, ready for shipping.

Notice how the hardback cover gradually settles under its own weight.

Author and the final product: a printed, bound and covered book.

8 copies of Warrior, ready to be stacked on the pallet for shipping.

All set to go!

House Parties Today

Tuesday, June 11th, 2019


Photo by Maurício Mascaro from Pexels

As a teenager in the late ’70s and early ’80s I remember attending quite a few house parties, with varying amounts of parental supervision. But, so far as I can see, teenagers today don’t hold house parties. Is it because their parents, having attended house parties themselves when they were younger, are saying, “Absolutely not!” Knowing what went on at some of those parties (and the state of the house afterwards), that’s certainly what I would say if any of my sons intimated they wanted to have a house party. So, are house parties a thing of the past or are they still going on?

Black Library: Lords of the Storm

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

For all you Warhammer 40k fans out there, I’m delighted to announce my first novella set in the grim dark of the far future (it’s actually moved on to the 41st millennium now). Lords of the Storm tells of a Reiver squad of the Fulminators Space Marines given the mission to retrieve the relics of an Imperial saint from a penitential shrine world overrun by the forces of Chaos following the Great Rift. I’m very pleased with how the story has turned out and I hope you will be too. The novella should be available for pre-order in the summer. There’s a bit more about Lords of the Storm, and lots more about other forthcoming titles from the Black Library, here.

Being Dad

Sunday, April 28th, 2019

Sometimes (quite often, actually) there is simply nothing better than being a father.

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam

Wednesday, April 10th, 2019

A friend received a spam email, ostensibly from me, that read simply, “I own and operate a ferocious ego.” I am really rather proud of that! I think I shall make it my byeline.

The Perils of Context

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Why it’s always a good idea to check the dictionary rather than relying on context to reveal the meaning of a word: I thought ‘afflatus’ meant farting. Turns out it means ‘a divine creative impulse or inspiration’. I only wish I could remember the context where I read it and thought afflatus meant farting!

Hallowe’een Pumpkin

Friday, November 2nd, 2018

The best Hallowe’en pumpkin I’ve ever seen – made by one of my neighbours and put on their front garden wall.

Don’t Give Up

Thursday, August 16th, 2018

 

What’s the difference between an amateur writer and a professional writer?

The professional didn’t give up.

To emphasise the point here’s my publication history by decade:
 
1980s – one short story published
1990s – one short story published
2000s – two stories published (and a few articles in magazines)
2010s – about 40 short stories published, 11 books and I’ve lost count of the number of magazine features
 
So don’t give up and keep getting better.

via GIPHY

Travel In the Old Style

Friday, May 25th, 2018

Proofreading the excellent Bradt Guide to Somaliland, how about this for an insight into travel in and out of an unrecognised country:

Coming by road, a few 4x4s daily connect Djibouti and Zeila to Hargeisa [the capital of Somaliland]. These… cost around US$40 for a cabin seat, US$28 to sit in the boot, and less for a perch on the roof.

Note that the journey from Djibouti to Hargeisa takes a minimum of 12 hours, and that’s if your 4×4 doesn’t break down on the way. One traveller reported it taking him 36 hours to make the journey. That’s a long time to spend sitting in the boot!

The Sneering Classes

Tuesday, January 9th, 2018

One consequence of Brexit and, even more so, the election of Donald Trump is the warrant this has provided for the sneering classes to really indulge in what they do best.