When you pick up a biography, do you first turn to those glossy pages in the middle? The pages with the pictures, the paintings, the maps. The pages that somehow tell you what it is you’re going to be reading about. The pages that the author – a person by definition good with words, rather than images – has sweated blood over.
Reader, I know of what I speak!
When I signed the contract with Text Publishing, my agent carefully pointed out the clause that says I’m responsible for “all illustrative material” and “shall bear all costs relating to supply of such illustrative material”. Yep. Sure. No worries.
In the writing lull which occurred after I submitted the draft manuscript to my editor, I started compiling a list of all the images I wanted to include. Then I went away to find them, on the interwebs.
Some of them were easy to find (thanks, Google). Some were happy surprises, like this photo of Clovelly, the Macarthur holiday house at Watsons Bay, where Elizabeth Macarthur died. Some of them were much harder to find (and I could only find them in hard copy books). Some of them didn’t exist – for example, Elizabeth Macarthur’s youngest daughter, Emmeline, does not seem to have a picture anywhere, despite being married to a premier of NSW (Henry Parker).
Eventually, long weeks later, I happily sent off my list (my very long list) to the editor.
You, being a person of intelligence and discernment, can probably guess what happened next. Read the rest of this entry