Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A pleasant surprise

I've written quite a bit in my life: marketing and business plans, technical documentation, ad copy, articles on technology, ghost-written book chapters, even the odd model railroading article. But it was a neat surprise to open my copy of Model Railroader's How to Build Realistic Layouts: Freight Yards special issue this week. Obviously, I knew what my article "A Baker's Dozen Yard Ideas" would include -- I wrote the text and prepared some of the rough illustrations. But Andy Sperandeo and the folks at Kalmbach matched up portions of the text with file photography and new illustrations that added a lot to the piece. It's rare that I write something and feel that the final result is significantly better or more engaging than what I submitted, but in this case, it surely was.

The rest of the magazine is pretty interesting, too. I don't know if these special more-than-a-magazine-not-quite-a-book issues sell well from a marketing standpoint. But it was a real pleasure to see my work showcased in this one.

(Parenthetically, I have also been a bit surprised that a few folks don't seem to know that a "baker's dozen" is thirteen. When I was a kid, it was common for one additional donut or other baked treat to be included when a dozen of the same item was purchased (this carries on for donuts at our local purveyor). In this era of pre-packaged foods (and healthier eating!), perhaps it's not surprising that the phrase is less well-known. Interestingly, the baker's dozen seems to have originated in England out of a fear of penalties for selling a customer short.)