That New Book Smell

Dm5_1 My ten author copies of DIAGNOSIS MURDER: THE PAST TENSE  arrived today (coincidentally, my brother Tod got his author copies of SIMPLIFY today, too). This is my fifth book in the DM series, and maybe the 20th book I’ve written, but the thrill of opening that box of author copies hasn’t worn off. I still get excited holding the book for the first time, flipping through the pages, picking out paragraphs at random to read. I even like the smell. It’s like I need to confirm to myself that it’s real…because  I’m still insecure enough to be surprised that I’m getting published at all.

On the other hand, I don’t get a charge out of seeing my name on screen any more.  It took me four of five episodes before I noticed my "Creative Consultant" credit was missing from MISSING (it had been dropped due to Canadian content requirements). The studio pulled it and didn’t tell us. They assumed we wouldn’t notice. Shockingly, they were right.   I wish that wasn’t true…I miss the thrill I used to get from seeing my screen credit.Mwiob_lg

I also got my cover for THE MAN WITH THE IRON-ON BADGE over the holiday weekend. Seeing a bookcover for the first time is almost as exciting for me as getting that box of books, but in an entirely different way. Here’s why: by the time the books come, I’ve already seen the cover and the typeset manuscript, but not all of it together as a genuine book. I know what’s going to be in the box when I open it. But when the bookcover arrives, it’s a complete unknown… I have no idea what it will look like (or if I will hate it). I usually can’t wait to get my hands on the book-jacket and that hasn’t changed, even with the DM books (which look more-or-less the same every time but change elements within the established template).

I’m glad the thrill hasn’t waned for me yet…and I hope it never does.

(Click on the pictures for larger images. Thanks to Keith Snyder for transfering the PDF for me!)

UPDATE  (7-8-05): Author Alison Kent discovered that sometimes there’s a darkside to getting your authors copies…

You know, I love author copies. It is so much fun to actually get your hands on a book in print. And then you turn it over. And you read the back cover copy. And they mention your heroine Erin Thatcher by calling her ERIN FLETCHER!!! What the heck are these people smoking???

9 thoughts on “That New Book Smell”

  1. To convert the file, it looks like you’d have to download a program like Paq PDFtools 2.01 (not a recommendation, just something I saw at Otherwise, you could just post a link to the pdf file.
    Otherwise, congratulations on the new book. Is there a relase date on “Badge”?

  2. Not that I have published as much as you have but possibly it is not as much as the name on the cover but the deed is done, mission acomplished, well done.

  3. On a Windows based PC, I think the easiest way to make a jpeg is:
    1) open the pdf file in Acrobat.
    2) copy the active (Acrobat) window to the buffer by pressing Alt-Print Screen.
    3) Open a graphics program (Windows comes with Paint–Start ==> Programs ==> Accessories ==> Paint)
    4) Paste the buffer into the graphics program. (Ctrl-V or Edit ==> Paste)
    4a) crop as needed.
    5) Save as a jpeg.
    HTH – Mark

  4. When I got my first copies of my book (which, when you think about it, were pretty badly done. My publisher fired that printer.), I danced around the house cackling like an idiot.
    Then I lamented we didn’t have a book jacket. How’s Harriett going to review it?

  5. I believe there is a mistake in this book. The reason I say “I believe” and not “there is” is because I am not done with the book yet.
    You talk about Mark’s father abandoning his family. In an episode of “Diagnois Murder”, this turned out to be false. His father was murdered and the postcard from NY was a fake.

  6. My books take place in season 6 — the last one that William Rabkin and I produced. I don’t incorporate into the books any of the events that happened in the two seasons that followed (mainly because I didn’t watch them…though I did see the episode about Mark’s father). For example, Jesse and Susan are still very much a couple in my books… and Susan was dropped after Bill & I left.
    More and more, as the books go on, they will exist in a universe of their own, apart from the TV series (as the MURDER SHE WROTE books have done).


Leave a Comment