Friday, March 18, 2011

Letting It Go

letting go
The page proof review of Wined and Died is done. It was my last chance to proofread, find any inconsistencies and fix any glitches. It’s not a time for rewriting, but I always find things I want to change.


I only mark the ones that make a difference to meaning or fix a problem. Typos, confusing punctuation and confusing grammar are the worst. Lucky for me, there isn’t much of that because my copy editor at Midnight Ink is an absolute whiz. This stage of the book is always tidy and clean. Of course, I do my best to give it to her tidy and clean in the first place, but I’m sure it’s not perfect.

Still, I usually see something I missed in the checking copy which comes from the first printing. A space missing. Inconsistent capitalization. Something tiny.

The page proofs are formatted for printing. So I reviewed the story in the form readers will see when they hold it in their hand (“it” meaning hard copy rather than the ebook versions). Before I hand off a manuscript to the publisher in the first place I format it in two columns and print it out in landscape to get the same effect during my final edit. Inevitably, errors come to light this way. Reading it out loud finds even more.

Rather than red ink, I use light blue as a way to pamper my psyche. Traditional editing marks. A notebook by my side to keep track of things I want to make sure I address properly later in the book.

I hadn’t read Wined and Died for several months. It feels fresh. I see it differently. I see things I couldn’t before because not enough time had passed since I’d written it.

It is beyond reason how difficult it is for me to package up that lightly marked manuscript, address the envelope, and take it down to the post office. What if I missed something?

All I can do is trust – in myself, in my wonderful copy editor, proofreader(s) and formatting experts.

All I can do now is let it go.


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1 comment:

  1. I've never seen any glitches in your books that made me cringe, so I think you're doing okay. :) I know so well the feeling of "what if I missed something" though--as a freelancer, I feel a lot of pressure to do a good job copyediting or proofreading, because if I don't then I won't get more work. And as I hit "send" or drop the proofs in the FedEx box, I have to fight a panicky feeling that I should check it over just *once* more.

    That's nice that your publisher still has proofreaders--I know of at least one (that I work for) that has had the proofing budget frozen indefinitely, so the copyeditor is the last pro to look at the book. The author gets to review proofs, but it's so nice to have more than one set of eyes looking at them.

    I'm excited that Wined and Died is one step closer to publication. :)