Thursday, June 9, 2016

Join us behind the scenes again

Oh no, not edits!

Once again, we’d like to invite you to join us behind the scenes at the writer’s desk, actually the writers’ desks, this time, as it’s both of us.  You see, we recently received our ‘edits’.  The Hammett Hex was returned to us with the usual editor’s and copy editor’s  comments and corrections. This was our chance to make any important changes and to catch any bloopers that might have slipped through. Luckily, we were able to return it within the one-week turnaround time.  Talk about suspense!  

We find that ten days to two weeks is a comfortable amount of time to feel confident and panic-free, but things happen and we all do what we can.  During the time we have, MJ reads the book out loud, ideally three times. It’s surprising what you ‘hear’ but you don’t see. With every read, changes are input and the book improves. Victoria does reading and re-reading and finds answers to tricky questions.
Peachy lets us know that we'd better get all the pug stuff right.

Despite the fact that our heart rate goes up quite often, we love the editing process. It’s fun and surprisingly creative as we seek synonyms for overworked words and solutions to plot kinks that won’t mess with the chapter layout or add new problems.

Every book that you see on the shelves out there in the big old world of books, has been through a number of edits. First there is the reading and rereading that the author does with successive drafts.  When it gets close to being submitted, we give it a good hard read to polish and correct and find bloopers (say, characters changing names, ghosts from scenes that have been cut, hilarious misspelling , plot problems and inconsistencies, that kind of thing.  Many of us have trusted ‘beta readers’ who see the book before our official editor does. 

Once we’re happy with it or the deadline arrives (usually happens first!) the book gets sent to the editor at our publisher.  By the way, you can be assured also that  many “indie” authors also engage editors and proof-reader in addition. Almost everyone needs this.  

Our publisher uses TRACK CHANGES which is a big improvement over the old ways of writing cryptic words and arrows in the margins of the manuscript with masses of post-it notes fluttering everywhere. We can use our own comments to respond, explain or just say ‘thanks for catching that’.
A few years back, before we sent manuscripts by email as attachments, they used to go by Fedex.  Ka-ching!!!!  This is all to say, that things are better in many ways, although the time can still be tight.

Because of the short turnaround time this week was given to furious reading and correcting. MJ finds it easiest to sit on the bed, with the nice firm headbored and room for the manuscript pages to be placed next to her when completed.  A dog or two sleeping on a blankie next to the ms. or under the desk helps a lot to calm the soul.

 MJ and Victoria frequently confer about how to deal with the comments. We found that we agreed with almost all of them this time and that their suggested changes and on-page edits will make for a better book.

We’ll see the book one more time in laid-out and formatted form for a final check. Although the book will already have been proofed, we will be looking for small errors that were missed or in some cases inadvertently inserted.  Once someone (and we’ll never know who) touched the number “3” on the keyboard after the book had had its final editing and proofing, and then pressed SEND to dispatch the manuscript to the printer. The result was the word Mo3hawk instead of Mohawk. MJ first noticed while doing a reading at the launch for the book and emitted a squeak.  Maybe Vera should have that first edition for her collection! 

 That final glimpse at the manuscript is called the 1st Pass Pages. It will be a quick turnaround too and no major changes will be accepted.  But we always find something!  Our goal is to make the book the best it can be for you, our readers.  And we’re told by the pros, that the average number of typos that escape all these eagle eyes is eight!

In case you are itching to see the results, The Hammett Hex is ready for pre-order  HERE
Or from your favorite source for books. 

And now let's hear from you. There are errors and typos in this post. Can you find one? Even if you can't, please come by with any comment about this post or just to say hello and MJ will put your name in for a random draw of Little Boy Blues, the book that had Mo3hawk in the first edition.  Sorry! The 3 is gone now, but good luck anyway.

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