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Rebecca Lee: How Words Get Good: The Story of Making a Book - Part of Derby Book Festival


A behind-the-scenes tour for book lovers everywhere, from ghostwriters to indexes and erratas.

Once upon a time, a writer had an idea. They wrote it down. But what happened next? Join Rebecca Lee, professional word-improver, as she embarks on the fascinating exploration of how a book gets from author's brain to finished copy.

  • Learn the dark arts of ghostwriters, uncover the hidden beauty of typesetting and find out which words end up in books (and why).

  • A literary journey punctuated by a litany of little-known considerations that make a big impact:ellipses, indexes, hyphens, esoteric grammar and juicy errata slips. Whoops.

  • From foot-and-note disease to the town of Index, Missouri - turn the page to discover how books get made and words get good. Or, at least, better.

  • Did you know Proust's first Japanese translator disappeared and the second went mad? Or who invented the interrobang?! The book is packed full of such fascinating facts.

Rebecca Lee is an editorial manager at Penguin Random House. She’s spent 20 years managing hundreds of high-profile books from delivery of manuscript to finished copies.