Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What are "first-pass pages"?

...Just when I was starting to feel antsy, like I needed to start working on something new... My head and hands idle too long. Wouldn't you know it, but the "first-pass pages" arrived overnight delivery (7/11 due back 7/23). This is all new to me, so if you're wondering, "What are first-pass pages?" you are not alone. THE FIRST PASS PAGES are the pages that the book will be printed from. First, the galley or initial copies will be printed from these pages so it's imperative that we catch any glaring typos or misprints and things like that.

As I'm reading the ms. pages for errors, a proofreader is also reading. It's terribly exciting to have an ISBN number and a title page and to visually see the ms. in a near book form.

The only "bad" part of this step in publishing is that I still feel the urge to rewrite. As my professor Bill Tester used to say, "You are NEVER done with a book because it will NEVER be perfect." I imagine picking up a copy of THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS five years from now, flipping to a random page, and going, "What was I thinking? That sentence is clunky! I could've been more concise. It could've been more poetic."

Could've, should've would've. Shaye Areheart of Random House is publishing my debut novel! No regrets here. Lots of joy. We do the best we can, and I'm proud, so proud of this book. If I didn't look at it down the road and think, "That could be better," I wouldn't be very good at what I do. Thanks to everyone who has an interest in my novel. It means a lot to me.

People keep asking, "How come it's not out yet? What's taking so long?" and I'll tell you: this is a long process. Writing the book was a mostly solitary matter, but publishing it is another story all together. There are so many steps, from initial big edits to copy edits to cover art to selecting a release date, to "first-pass pages" and down the line to galleys (those first printings), and reviews (cross your fingers) to promote the hardback; and there's publicity (lots, hopefully), marketing, and lastly: hardback printings. We're really only halfway through the process.

Keep following and see what happens next, and thanks again for all the congratulations and good wishes. I can't wait until everyone can hold my book in their hands and read it. It's going to be incredible. THANK YOU. *And I want to add huge kudos and thanks to all the folks at Harmony & Shaye Areheart for caring about my opinion regarding the cover art. I didn't expect consideration in that matter. I write the book. They sell it, but they really genuinely cared about my opinion. That surprised and thrilled me.

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  1. We're just excited and impatient. I've been telling people how great this book was going to be for years now. I can't wait for them to be able to buy it so they can come to me and say, "You were right; this is an awesome story." That, plus I can't wait to read a polished copy.

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