Monday, August 13, 2012

Tidbits They Don’t Tell You In Author’s School, Part 4

by Stephanie Osborn

We've been talking about the little odds and ends that beginning writers NEED to know, but often aren't TOLD. Things that it's useful to know about to avoid making mistakes. At this point, we have managed to sell our first novel to a publisher. We're picking up today with Tidbits Six and Six-A.
Tidbit Six: Getting a contract in hand is NOT the end of the job. It’s the beginning. Or maybe the middle.


Because now you get to work with one or more editors, copy editors, and proofreaders. Multiple times. Read: for as many iterations as it takes to get the book into the condition that the publishers consider ready for publication.
And sometimes that's quite a few. Yep, I don't even have to say it now, do I? Because by now you know that I'm giving you a course I learned in the proverbial school of hard knocks.


Tidbit Six-A: Be aware that you are NOT required to do everything, or even anything, the editors say. But you better really be confident you’ve done it exactly right, because these guys are more experienced than you are and know what they’re doing.

Travis, God bless him, has repeated this to me more than once, and I think it's finally taken.

So you have the book edited, it’s in gorgeous shape; the cover art has come down and it’s beautiful. You’re done, right? Nope. Now you get the e-ARC, the electronic Advanced Review Copy. You get to review that, make corrections, and send the corrections back.

See, the e-ARC is usually a .pdf file, and the conversion isn't always as smooth as we'd like it to be. It can lose italics and tabs and returns and other such formatting, or it can just wrap a line funny. (Sort of like the paragraph breaks in this blog post, for some reason.) It's also another chance to look for copy errors (errors in spelling, punctuation, typos, etc.) before the book goes into production. This is also the file from which the ebooks are likely to be converted.

NOW you’re done? No. Now you get the galley prints. These are unbound first run prints of your book. Again, review for errors and send back the corrections. Yes, same reason as the e-ARC. Yes, I've caught my own goofs in the galleys as well as errors in setting the galleys - which unlike the old days, is done electronically now. But just like converting from your .doc to .pdf, things can go wonky.

And guess what? The book still hasn't been released. We'll talk about week.

-Stephanie Osborn