Wednesday, August 27, 2008


The galleys for The Messenger have arrived!   It's always an exciting day when galleys are in, for several reasons --

The book starts looking like a book! Gone are the double-spaced manuscript pages, the ones I produced on my computer, and we're also past the stage when the symbols of copy-editing covered those pages.  This is the phase of production of a book in which those manuscript pages have been given over to the artistry of those who design and layout the type and pages -- the final look of the book itself.  If you can image an unbound book being photocopied, single-sided, you now have some idea of what galley pages look like.  The first time I see any book at this stage is a wonderful moment, a moment when the book-as-book comes closer to being a reality.

It's also the last chance I'll have to correct errors.  This is truly unnerving.  If you're an author, when you see your copy-edited manuscript (previous stage of work), you become aware that your brain filled in all sorts of things that your fingers did not type on the keyboard, and that you, until now -- despite numerous readings of screens and printed pages before now -- never noticed were missing or unclear.   So you work hard to stay focused while going over a copy-edited manuscript.  Then, thinking you've caught whatever problems you and a team of experts could catch, you mail it back.   A few weeks later, you see the galleys -- and yes, there is always something that has been missed by the folks who were looking for errors before now.   

You also know that despite your efforts and those of your publisher, some howlingly funny, boneheaded error will remain, and you will be hearing about it by e-mail within the first week after the book is published.

Galleys also bring a sense of urgency with them -- there is never a lot of time between when one receives them and when one's publisher wants them back.  So I'm off to work on galleys!

1 comment:

Maria Lima said...

w00t! Galleys are such a cool thing. I'm so looking forward to reading this.

Hey - when I get back from vacation - we can chat. :)