A post from Shady Characters

Big news for Shady Characters

I couldn’t have imagined this when I started posting here back in January, but Shady Characters has a book deal. I am still battling with disbelief.

Laurie Abkemeier of DeFiore and Company got in touch back in March; we put together a book proposal over the next few months, and just last week Laurie emailed me to let me know that it had been picked up by the publishing house W.W. Norton. I’ll be working on the book over the next year or so with Brendan Curry, one of Norton’s non-fiction editors, and it will appear in shops — well, honestly, I have no idea when it’ll be ready!

What does this mean for the Shady Characters website?

First, I’m going to take a break from writing longer articles for a little while. Though I love writing the articles here, it’s a time-consuming business and (perhaps selfishly) I’m looking forward to a little time away from these longer articles.

Second, and more importantly, in no way is the site “finished” or closed for business! The site will continue to be updated, both with news of the book and with new articles. Not only that, I’ll still be watching the comments with as much enthusiasm as ever: some of the most widely-discussed articles here have come from comments and emails sent in by Shady Characters readers, and I’m sure there are many more to come.

Finally, some thanks are due. Writing for the site has been eye-opening, in the best of senses; my own knowledge of punctuation, grammar and typography is dwarfed by that of the site’s readership, and to pretend otherwise would be to do you all a disservice. Thank you for reading, commenting, sending in your thoughts and corrections, and for supporting the site on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, I must thank my friend Jeff Sanders, who has patiently read over each article draft (often on Saturday night or Sunday morning as I scrambled to get it finished in time) to make corrections and suggestions that have improved each one immensely.

Thank you all!


If you have questions, suggestions, or any other feedback, please leave a comment below or get in touch via the Contact page.

Oh, and there’s still time to vote on your favourite Grammar Blog of the Year — perhaps a last-minute effort could propel Shady Characters to the top of the list¡

13 comments on “Big news for Shady Characters

  1. Comment posted by Ian on

    Congratulations! I’m glad to see that good writing leads to good things.

  2. Comment posted by Dan on

    I’ve been following your blog for a couple of months now, and am always eagerly awaiting the next post. A book is an entirely appropriate progression! Congratulations!

  3. Comment posted by ND on

    Congratulations! I hope the book is typeset as well as the site is.

  4. Comment posted by Bryce on

    Awesome news! :)

  5. Comment posted by Anna on

    Congratulations! I love this site and I’m delighted about the book. You’ll have a lot of fun typesetting it.

  6. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

    Hi everyone — thanks! I really appreciate all the comments, both here and on previous entries. The discussions after each article really have been as enjoyable as writing the articles themselves!

  7. Comment posted by Elena Rius on

    Great news! Norton is a publisher I highly respect, it is surely an honour to be on its catalogue. Sometimes my friends say that keeping a blog is a loss of time. You have showed that it isn’t!

  8. Comment posted by Kathleen on

    Wow. Wonderful. Well done, Keith! W.W. Norton are great! Look forward to hearing more about the book.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Elena, Kathleen — I’m glad to hear that Norton is a well-respected publisher! Thanks for the comments, and keep an eye on the blog for more news in the coming months.

  9. Comment posted by Timothy Lee on

    How Wonderful. Ever since I found this blog a couple of months ago I have thoroughly enjoyed every article. I hope that your book will be available for Kindle as that is one book I will definitely take the time to read.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Timothy — we haven’t discussed the details yet, but I’d certainly love to have the book available for the Kindle and other ebook readers. I’ll post more details here as soon as I have them!

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