Sunday, February 13, 2005

Working with the Press

In September of 2004, I had my first contact with the production process at the press. A production editor sent me some questions, mostly having to do with the spelling of Hawai'ian words in the book. I have tried to be faithful to true Hawai'ian spelling, which includes both the macron, the line over a vowel that indicates you draw that vowel out a bit, and the okina, or glottal stop, which is used between vowels, as in the word Hawai'i.

I felt these are important parts of the Hawai'ian language, and I wanted to be respectful. There are also certain words whose meaning changes with or without the macron or the okina. I had to go back and double check all my spellings, providing references. I felt like I was really working on the book, at last!

A manager at the press emailed me a little later to express concern about the book's title. Properly, mahu has macrons over both the a and the u. I had been using ascii characters to show that, and she was worried that the book's title wouldn't be searchable on line if I spelled it that way. I thought about it for a while and said that as long as the printed book looked correct, I didn't care if the website used the macrons or not. She thought that was an acceptable compromise.

Then, in December, I was sent the pre-publication announcement for the book, and Haworth added the book to its website with a great description. I was really impressed that a copywriter had read the book, figured out what it was about and how to market it, and written great copy. To read the copy, you can go to and search for my name: Plakcy.

There was bad news, too. Haworth wanted to charge $24.95 for a trade paperback, and I thought that was way too much. I did some bookstore research on comparative prices, both for gay-themed trade paperbacks and for first mysteries, and tried to get the president of the book division to reconsider. But he ignored my phone calls and emails, so I guess I'm stuck. I sure hope they have a strategy figured out for how to sell the book at such a high price.

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