Tuesday, March 28, 2006

IT'S HERE!!!!!

Hot off the presses, my copies of Biking Illinois arrived today!

Naturally, I've already found something to complain about. The "about the author" section on the back cover claims, "He covers the Illinois biking scene on his popular Web site, BikingIllinois.com." That is wrong in so many ways! First of all, that site exists only to promote the book. Second, I've never really covered the "Illinois biking scene" anywhere (it describes my friend Chris better, though he covers the Illinois bike racing scene). Third, BikingIllinois.com is anything but popular at this point; the site that people have visited in the past is DJRider.com, which includes a few rides in Illinois but surely doesn't cover the scene.

Do other authors fall victim to misguided jacket copy writers? I'm really afraid this is going to hurt my credibility, especially with Internet users who will know better. I can see the reviews now (read this with Bill O'Reilly-esque disdain and sneer):
Mr. Johnsen supposedly covers the Illinois biking scene at his Web site. But when we visited, we found only promotional materials for the book he is peddling. It seems that the only "scene" he covers is himself! Would you follow directions on a bicycle from an author who can't even get his own facts straight?
I hope I'm blowing this way out of proportion. And speaking of "out of proportion," my lesser complaint about the back cover is the size of the author photo. My editor said repeatedly, "It's only going to be the size of a postage stamp, so don't worry about it." Well, when was the last time you slapped a four-inch-square stamp on an envelope? I would have airbrushed the heck out of my photo if I had known it would be that large! I look like a drunk, fat guy in that photo. But I don't remember drinking that day...

Also, an astute observer will notice that they changed the subtitle of my book, at least on the outside. On the inside, it's still "60 Great Road and Trail Rides," but on the front and back covers, it is "60 Great Road Trips and Trail Rides." I've always associated road trips with cars, so it doesn't make any sense to me. The subtitle was long enough already anyway. If they really wanted to add a word, "tours" would have been better than "trips." I first saw the change at BN.com, but I assumed it was an error on BN's part. Alas, I was wrong. So the bottom line is, I have written a book but I honestly don't know what to call it!

Actually, I am afraid to read a word of my book at this point. If something is wrong I can't fix it or take it back. That is a really scary feeling. If I screw up something on my blog, I just edit the entry and republish immediately. But anything wrong in the book is wrong forever. Sure there will be more printings (I hope!), but once it's out there, you can't take it back. Excuse me, I have to go bite my fingernails now...

1 comment:

John Sullivan said...

Congrats Dave!

I know it's hard, but don't worry too much. The book is your creation and you see a few blemishes; but, the end users will only care if your writings and maps guide them to a happy day on the bike. And it will.

I checked our database and your book has its own, very important, BINC number (8360069) -- so you are good to go here in the Borders chain!

Limited readers for your title here in North Carolina, of course, but I'll be sure to get one for my store's shelves. We can also easily order the title for any customer.

Good riding,
John
Raleigh, NC