The Stuff You’ll Never See…

…at least not until someone gets really famous and/or dies.

The video is interesting to me as a photography geek,  but it also got me thinking about all the material that creative people and their publishers make in preparation for showing something to readers/viewers/consumers. In the case of the Magnum prints, these are not materials meant for the general public; they’re a step along the way to something for the public—a piece to help editors and curators and other gatekeepers make decisions that eventually result in a magazine piece, a museum exhibition, or a book.

All of us here at Lerner are up to our eyeballs in similar materials at the moment, all in advance of our fall 2010 lists. A lot of this material is still physical, especially as we get near the final stages, and it still bears the sometim2010-03-04 10.57.14es witty markings of artists, art directors, and various editors and production people. 

More often than not, though, these little-seen steps between idea in the brain and book on the shelves take digital form, marked up with tracked changes and virtual sticky notes (still witty but more legible). While the paper proofs eventually get shuffled onto various shelves or filed away or simply recycled, the digital ones, which generally show up via email, tend to disappear in the Heraclitian stream that is my inbox (no, I don’t practice zero inbox, sadly). They disappear, that is, until I get this email:


I’ve gotten this email every night for the last couple weeks, despite daily purging of massive attachments (thanks, Attachment Remover). It’s okay, though. If tulips are a sign of spring, “over its size limit” emails are a sign that we’re almost done with a season’s worth of books. And what a season it will be. I’m very excited about what I can blog about next week.

-Andrew Karre