Galley Edits & Gratitude

As a book reviewer, I learned that “galleys” were the final manuscript, set in print, before publication. Galleys were what we mostly read. They had plain covers and came with an info-packed publicity note. We were always told that we should not quote from galleys unless the publicist agreed. I found that it was okay to quote good stuff but not bad, as it might be fixed in galley edit.

Both author and editor do one final read, and what we are looking for are typos, homonyms, spell check errors, grammar issues. My publisher really does not encourage any other kinds of changes in galley. Glaring oops, yes. Cutting and revising a paragraph or even a sentence, no.

Before I was published, I longed for the day when I would have my own galley edits to proofread. And now I do. I can’t remember doing this on my last book! The Paris Notebook had a different editor, still I’m sure I must have done.

But then, I was not in the middle of organizing a major moving of house. Now I am and I feel the pressure. It may be an insider secret, but after about 25 or so reads of a novel, this writer at least, starts to get bored. Really intensely bored. How ungrateful!

I plan to start my galley edits today, finally, after being distracted by furniture shopping, picking out new towels, and begging the window shade installers to come out with what part of my very large order they have. They said, not exactly no, but “We can be there next Wednesday at ten am to install everything” so I had to say yes. And the furniture, or the greater part of it, will be here Tuesday. I have a new-sized bed. I have not bought the sheets yet, although my pal Ali sent me lots of great stuff online. Great prices too.

See, every time I start to write about the process of writing, it segues into house talk. I have such abundance in my life right now, both with the writing and the new home, that I am simply grateful. And since it’s Sunday, I’m giving even more thanks for this life of mine.

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