I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned it but I’ve written this book about an extraordinary battle over the domain name Sex.com, and it was officially out on Monday.
I’ve been trying, naturally enough, to push this fact into the media, and I was delighted when my publisher’s publicity woman Lucy Ramsey told me that the Sunday Times News Review was interested in running a piece on it. I’ve always been a big fan of the New Review section of the Sunday Times. If ever I kept a section of the hugely bulky paper, it was this. And I remember thinking way back in the past that I would love to have a piece in it. Well, I was asked to do a piece for it. It was the worst possible timing of course – I have a huge amount of work on – but I did without sleep for two days and produced an article which I rather liked and sent it.
And the commissioning editor didn’t like it. But she was very pleasant about it and didn’t say “I don’t like it” but offered some other feasible reason. I agreed to rewrite it. So I wrote another version. I like this version too. Anyway, at 8.15pm, I get an email on my Blackberry saying that the piece was ready to go, they had made a few changes, but if I have any problems please call – she’ll be there until 10.30pm. My Blackberry would only show the first four paras or so, but it was clear it has been comprehensively rewritten. I asked her to add whoever had rehashed it to the byline. She said, no it was fine.
I am now at my computer and have read the whole piece and am trying to figure out whether it is better and clearer, or worse and wrong. The bloke they got to rewrite it had clearly read the book, god bless him. Peter Millar has a pedigree and even a Wikipedia page. He also lives in Hook Norton – near to Oxford – which I like. But I can’t for the live of me figure out why they asked me to write the piece, or put up with me rewriting it, when the finished piece is completely different.
I actually prefer my pieces, but then of course I am biased. But what is the process by which two pieces are turned down and then a third piece is created, which is totally different, by a different author, and then I have my byline put on it? I just can’t fathom how such a process exists.
Anyway, I’m intrigued to know, objectively, if the Sunday Times piece that should appear this Sunday (although you never know) is better or clearer from the outside perspective. It is all too possible that I have got too close to the subject matter. Anyway, let’s put it to a vote. I’m not sure if anyone that reads this will have the patience to read three pieces on essentially the same story, but if you can be bothered, I’d be intrigued to see what people think.
I will post my two pieces in different blog posts and then when the Sunday Times article appears, its version as well, and then stick a poll up to see which people prefer. I might just learn something.