The Glorious Twelfth

Golf in the Wild

I have had a few bad dreams recently – 1000 books are delivered to my front door, I open the first box, scan the pages and to my horror, all the print is overflowing the right margin.  The images are either too faint to see or so dark everything looks like night – I desparately tear the boxes apart looking for just one that might be right.  In the event, the 1000 books turned up in 42 boxes (41 x 24 and 1 x16 for the mathematically inclined) and after two days hard searching I have yet to find anything wrong, or at least nothing glaring.  For this I have to thank my various editors and the skilled advice and guidance provided by The Choir Press, a truly professional organisation. So begins the next interesting task – promotion, marketing and selling.

It has been a fascinating voyage of discovery – for instance, until yesterday I did not appreciate there something called the Legal Deposit.  This is the obligation on publishers  to send one copy of each of their publications to the British Library.  In addition another five must go to the Agency for The Legal Deposit Libraries – this covering The Bodleian Library, Oxford, The University Library, Cambridge, The National Library of ScotlandThe Library of Trinity College, Dublin and The National Library of Wales.  Odd to think that these august bodies now all contain works by yours truly.

Another worry was the exact dimensions of 1000 books – where would they all go?  In the event they squeeze into a relatively confined space, mostly under our dining room table.  We don’t expect to be wining and dining for some time!

 

The inside cover

Publication date moves ever closer.  The final edits have been applied and now I await a digital proof before going to press.  A late decision was inclusion of an inside cover image with descriptive text to add interest to the opening page. This has also provided space for a generous review from my good friend Norman Harris of The Times:

Small is clearly beautiful to the author, and so is remote.  He has a passion and curiosity for these special golfing terrains and the way local landscapes and history have shaped them. His odyssey should strike a chord with a small army of kindred souls.”
Norman Harris – THE TIMES

The Cover

This is the latest version of the cover – there have been seven previous versions. The various iterations have all revolved around the text on the front page – the font type, size and positioning. There has even been a version with vertical text to compliment the flag stick – I was rightly persuaded to drop that idea.  If this is final, publication just now awaits a final round of professional editing.

A target date

A recent post on northumbrian : light indicates a target publication date of April 2014 – I am into the third round of editing before finalising the page count which, in turn, determines the spine thickness. Once I know this, it will be time to complete the cover design. By degrees, it is getting closer to being complete.  The northumbrian : light post featured some text from the book and this image of my grandfather, standing on Egyptian sands as the distinctive smell of burnt castor oil fills the air.

InDesign CC

Having finally bitten the bullet and subscribed to InDesign CC, the formatting of the book is slowly taking shape.  Starting with a blank sheet of paper is quite a daunting prospect – it seems like it should be easy – the page size is pre-defined, there is guidance on fonts and margins but there is still much to decide.  It has taken me three days to get this far – the chapter heading is intended to echo a golf flag and there must be space for all the various course names and quotes, all of which vary in size e.g. Selkirk & Innerleithen.  Then there are header and footer/page number options, line spacing, font sizes, footnotes, dropcaps etc etc.  The challenge is to be original but professional – it has to “look right”.  Hopefully it does.

Some progress

After several months of waiting around for promised responses from publishers – they never did – I am making steady progress towards self-publication. Finding an organisation that is informed, responsive, helpful and UK based has been a trial but they do exist, or at least one does.  I am about to start detailed layouts with InDesign CC, I will finalise the text for the umpteenth time and worst of all I need to decide on the photographic content.  When researching many of the courses I only got one opportunity for photographs and if that day was dreich, as it was at Durness, then the results could be less than satisfactory.  This is one image that will definitely not appear in the book, simply because the course doesn’t – it is Hexham one bright but misty morning in June 2012.  Commissioned by the Newcastle Journal to photograph Great Golf Holes of the North, it was possible to respond immediately once the weather conditions were ideal, the course being five minutes from home.  Just popping back to Durness when the weather bucks up is not an option.

Some encouragement

The search for a publisher goes on but in the meantime here are some encouraging words from the friend of a friend (both writers):

Very interesting – and not just because I like the book idea. I think I probably told you I’ve embarked on a similar operation – blog etc – to help market my books. I’m no expert but your pal’s looks very good to me. I genuinely like the sound of the book and all your friend can do from now on is promote it as vigorously as possible. Sadly it’s a fact that many, many good books don’t get the success they deserve and many, many crap books become best sellers. A novel by the topless model Jordan once sold more copies than the aggregate sales of all the books on the Booker short list. It’s also a fact that some books come out of nowhere and sell many thousands and your friend can only hope his book is one of these. It could easily be the case. 

The kindness of strangers…..

Ron Howard’s Rush

This is the week I finally got to see the much anticipated movie Rush by Ron Howard. For dramatic purposes it plays fast and loose with history but there is no denying its entertainment value.  Motor Racing from this time is one of the ‘sub-plots’ within Golf in the Wild.  By strange coincidence my racing journey ends almost exactly at the point Ron Howard chooses to start the Lauda/Hunt F1 story – with the death of Francois Cevert at Watkins Glen (although he is not named in the film).  In reality Lauda’s F1 career started long before – this photograph is from the British Grand Prix of 1972 when he was driving for March (another paid drive).

Gairloch

This is one of the most spectacular views on the entire journey. Gairloch’s sixth tee is set high in the trees on the southern borders of the course.  Facing out to sea, the aptly named Westward Ho! encompasses the sixth green, the bay which the course embraces and the far mountains of the Skye and the Hebrides.  It is a sublime distraction and a real test of golf – go left at your peril!

Strathtay

The weather has finally turned in the North East of England but this picture gives me hope.  It was taken late October 2011, the sun is low but shining brightly and the autumn-coloured leaves still cling to the trees; there are more golfing days to come this year, hopefully dry ones. This is the view from Strathtay’s third tee with the par 3 green showing as a light patch between the trees.  I can think of no other golf hole that climbs quite so steeply in such a short space – everything contrives to leave you breathless.