Galley Proofed

All was quiet. Al had gone golfing. I’d turned off my phone. And I read my book one more time. In galley, which is the final form before publishing. There are line numbers on every page as well as page numbers. This is the last chance to change or fix any errors. There was one thing my editor found (a song lyric) I needed to eliminate. I know my publisher does not run down copyright holders to ask if they can reprint a song lyric. But I seem to sneak a lyric or two into every single book.

Then there was the weird thing where a sentence starting with a number must be spelled out. Jane lives in unit 202 and sometimes I did the shorthand, and started a sentence with a number. Last edit, editor told me that rule and I said, okay well just spell it out then. But when I got the galley, it looked funny, so I changed the first word to Unit, which editor said was an option, so I could have the number not spelled out because “Two oh four” seemed ugly on the page. Especially phonetically spelling “oh” instead of zero.

So I changed those.

Then I spied a space between a quote mark and the word. Bored yet? It’s like that. With galleys I do not go in and revise unless I absolutely have to. I’ve been through three rounds of edits, all the major plot problems have been ironed out and the minor ones too. I still want to change a few things, but I don’t because that’s not what galley proofing is about. An author will always want to change things, but if a book is going to be published in a timely manner, it’s done when the galleys are proofed.

So, it’s done. Now I need to wait for what the publishers do next. Editor said “copy edit” and I am not sure why that is different than the other edits except maybe because it’s a galley? But whatever it is, I don’t have to do it. My job is done. For now. Still don’t have a pub date…but it won’t be too much longer. Meanwhile I can work on book two called (for now) Death on the Bayou. I looked and there are no other books with that title.

And then under the title, on the inside front matter, it will say “A Jane in St Pete Mystery” and maybe under that Book 2. I did see “A Jane in St Pete Mystery” Book 1 on the galley proofs. Should have taken a picture!

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.