One Lucky Book Designer

When I became a book designer, back in the mid-eighties, I started working at Little, Brown & Company, on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, in a beautiful old Federal building on top of the hill, near the gold-capped dome of the capital. I lived out in Cambridge, and rode my bike into work most days. The atmosphere was fun, but focused. We started drinking on Fridays, around mid-day, in the art department…

I also got to design books by famous authors—I worked with Norman Mailer, Thomas Pynchon, William Shirer, Mary Oliver, among others… It was a heady time for me, just out of college.

I always read the books I work on, and become infused with the words, almost as if they are my own. I love the opportunity to bring history to life—The Nightmare Years by William Shirer was a two-volume collection I feel particularly proud of. Thomas Pynchon wrote me a typewritten note (I still have it!) that praised my design, but he said, “your design makes my words appear to be better than they are.”

Well, if that is the case, then Mr. Pynchon has created my own personal mission statement.

I love to work with the author’s words—poets, novelists, memoirists, historians, adventurers, iconoclasts and lovers, all. I am fortunate to have a job I love. My own writing is most often on the back burner, but I almost live through the work of my clients.

One such new client is Shannon Galpin, and her memoir is on the front burner right now, as I am trying to sell it to the book trade.

Here’s one good reason why.

Shannon is inspiring me, personally, to do good in the world—to help women and children, especially, in conflict areas. Others have taken note, and Shannon was just named a National Geographic Adventurer of the Year. I am honored to be her agent for her upcoming memoir.

Here is a short, award-winning film about her.

I am going to end this post with a link to Shannon’s Kickstarter campaign, for her new film that she is producing. Please join me in applauding this remarkable woman! And keep your fingers crossed that I can sell her book!

Afghan Cycles is a film about 12 brave women that dare to ride on the Women’s National Cycling Team of Afghanistan. Please join me in supporting this beautiful film!

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