Mary Beard on the last stages of writing a book – SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

Looking forward to this book. Interesting she finds the maps the worst of all to do! I wonder why? I always look at the site maps provided. It raises the question of the difficulties of writing–not just the man bit of an article or book, but the whole package.

I remember in my last book I did all the permission-seeking to use illustrations. I developed an email which explained this was a low-selling book (<2,000 copies per my contract though it has gone on to sell more than 3,000 which is very nice!) and in all but one case I think they let me have the image for free. I think that most people are willing to let you have imagery, but it did mean for me keeping clearly organized files on who I'd asked, whether I was waiting for an answer, or whether permission had been granted. I kept all this in case of a copyright challenge for years. There was only one case where I felt I'd pushed it (the surrealist map of the world) which had an untraceable copyright holder (Denis Wood had previously tried to track it down and I used the credit line he'd used for it. The map dates from ~1923 so right on the cusp of copyright law anyway).

I relate to the fear of missing out an important acknowledgement!

Progressive Geographies

Mary Beard has an interesting piece on the last stages of writing a book – SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome.


Ok I know you will think that you have heard this before, but the book is now within 1000 words of being completely finished. I am just tying up the epilogue, and if I get a good day at it tomorrow I may wrap it up (if I dont, then, yes, it could drag on till Thursday…after which I have no leeway … hope I am not tempting fate here).

When I say completely finished, I don’t actually mean completely, of course. I mean that the creative, staring-into-the-abyss bit has been done. Enough so that if I were to collapse and die tomorrow, it could be published in my name. What still remains are some of the lengthy, nitty gritty, frustrating and anxiety making stages. I mean things like…

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One response to “Mary Beard on the last stages of writing a book – SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome

  1. Pingback: Jeremy Crampton on maps, permissions and Asterix | Progressive Geographies

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