from manuscript to bookstore -- the publishing process

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As I think I've said, Bantam has had a difficult time producing a cover. This means producing a cover my editor could love. The art dept. keeps trying and my editor has been rejecting their offerings right and left. I saw none of these attempts. Cover design is not the kind of thing publishers ask writers to participate in. Remember, they're selling a package. We provide the content, but the packaging and the selling is what they do. Well, the art dept. finally made one my editor liked and she sent it to me, and to my agent. If either of us had hated it we would have had a long three-way conversation with my editor about why, and what changes would be acceptable. "Acceptable," though, is a loose concept, because we don't have cover approval in the contract. (Few writers do.)

As it happens, I love it. It's evocative and somber without any direct reference to 9/11. I think it will stand out on a shelf or in a window.

Of course the bummer is I can't show it to you. It stays under wraps until much closer to the release date (mid-Sept.) so it doesn't lose its impact.

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