Book tracks

Running a publishing business is like controlling a railway system with trains setting off at different times, and all having to be closely monitored on the journey. First, there is the decision about which routes will be worth setting up – will enough people want to travel? Then there is making sure that there is the right number of carriages, hiring the drivers, buffet staff, guard and so on. As the train progresses past the various stations, it needs to arrive on time so as to make sure it doesn't reach its destination late. And when it arrives, there needs to be a good welcoming party, a group of satisfied customers, a brass band, and a sense of a job well done. This month is typical of the parallel lines on which those trains run.

The final stages of our book, America’s Dreyfus, by Joan Brady, a leading US thriller writer, involve typesetting – now done electronically – final details of the cover, including a great blurb from Clare Short, and then a rush to the printers to make sure books are in the shops by September 10th.

Then I’m off to Moscow for two days of meetings with authors of books I will be publishing next year – one an armchair travel book about Rome, by a Russian historian, and the other a tense and beautifully written ‘road’ novel which has done very well in translation in Europe and Skyscraper will be bringing out in the UK.

And when I come back, I’ll be nursing along a book we’ll be publishing on Time Capsules and another about a First World War poet who died in battle in 1915, wrote beautiful poems in English, …and fought for the other side.

From the penthouse of the Skyscraper skyscraper, I can also see across the Atlantic to where two of our books published in the UK earlier in the year will be published by US publishers. One, On Further Reflection, by Sir Jonathan Miller, which received a rave review in the New York Review of Books, will be published by Overlook. The other, Night In Gaza, by Norwegian doctor - and some would say saint – Dr Mads Gilbert, is a moving account of several weeks in Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, under the brutal and illegal bombardment by Israel a year ago this month. Night in Gaza will be published in the US by Interlink. Maybe they should merge with Overlook and become OverInterLookLink.

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