Thursday, September 20, 2007

From Manscript to Finished Book...The Journey Continues

So my editor has read the revisions, and my agent, too, and they love them. Whew! Can I just tell you what an incredible relief that is? I mean, you think the book is good, and that you’re making it better, and you hope so, but you’re never sure until someone objective reads it. So that enthusiastic thumbs-up from the Powers That Be means a lot, and it feels heavenly.

If the manuscript needed more revisions, my editor would have sent it back to me. But since it didn’t, it’s now gone on to the copyeditor. The copyeditor’s job is to catch mistakes that everyone else has missed so far. Those can be as minor as using the same word twice in a sentence, to as major as chapter structure and pacing. Copyeditors also do a lot of fact-checking, looking for inaccuracies. Yes, it’s a novel…but one grounded in the real world, amid real events. In short, the copyeditor is a sharp-eyed perfectionist, whose job is to keep me—the author—from making an idiot of myself in public.

I love copyeditors.

Meanwhile, work proceeds on the cover art. Just as with a book’s title, the publishing house has full control over its cover. Most authors are shown the cover art, as a courtesy, but we often have no input into the design. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I can draw, but I’m awful at graphic design, and when it comes to color, well, let me just say that if it weren’t for my highly multi-talented friend Laura, my house would now be an awful shade of chartreuse instead of the lovely muted earthy green it is. At the same time, though, my agent and I had some ideas of how we wanted the Ten Cents a Dance cover to look. My editor, bless her heart, has been completely open to our input. I can’t wait to see what magic the art director at Bloomsbury conjures to convey the spirit of the book.

And what am I doing, during all this activity in NYC? Enjoying the brief lull before I get the copyedited pages back—catching up on house stuff, brainstorming the next novel, and of course practicing veterinary medicine. I expect the copyedits to arrive any day, and when they do, I’ll let you know what’s involved on my end. Let’s just say, it’ll be time for my inner geek to shine!