This seems like a good time to write about the process of proofing the galleys of one’s book. I thought I had a perfect version of my manuscript when I sent it to be printed. I had gone over it six times. SIX times. I had read it aloud twice. I was so confident, I ordered five copies of the proof. I gave one to my daughter to read as she offered to help me look for errors, and one to my granddaughter. After my daughter began making notes of errors she found, my grandson then offered to read, so I gave him a copy. I picked up one myself along with a ballpoint pen. The game was afoot! I hadn’t gone far (Chapter One) before I found two glaring mistakes. Good grief.
My daughter gave me perhaps the greatest compliment I ever hope to get. You see, I was always a Sherlock Holmes fan, as long as I can remember. And I tried to model my observant behavior on his. Not to excess, but just always trying to be observant. And when it came to reading mysteries, I have almost always known who the murderer was before the end. Only when the writer did something completely off the wall (Agatha Christie sometimes is guilty of this) would I be thrown off, or when the author is devilishly clever. Nowadays, I don’t try so hard. I want to be fooled. So, of course, my daughter grew up in this atmosphere, and now she’s better at solving mysteries than I am myself. But she didn’t guess who did it in my book. And she told me all the reasons why. This was a great thrill to me. Then she told me a gap or two she saw in my story. Those are now fixed. My grandson who is 18 didn’t know what a couple of things were that I refer to in the book. He’s too young. I did a bit of background so my younger readers won’t be left in the dark.
After all the fixes were finished, I sent the galleys back to the publisher, thinking I had a few days to breathe, and work on the next novel which is in progress. Ha. They were back in 20 hours: your proof is ready! But this time, as I now have experience publishing, I can do it in pdf format. I started last night. I thought I’d go through several chapters before going to bed.
Are you kidding me? Chapter One! I found a mistake that I (and everyone else) missed the first ten times. And then in Chapter Two, a formatting error that didn’t happen in the first printing happened in the second. Oh joy. With eighteen chapters to go, I think we’re going to be awhile. Chocolate may be required. In IV drip form.