It doesn’t get any easier.
Every time I face a book release, I get nervous. An advance review copy of that book has been out for a few months, and at the time I’m generally happy with the story. “Proofing is going to be a piece of cake,” I think. “This book is good to go.” And then I crack the spine of my roof copy and see everything I want to “fix.”
For THE BRIM REAPER, third in the Style & Error Mystery Series (out today), the fixes started on page six. That’s pretty good. That’s Proofing-This-Book-Is–Going-To-Be-A-Breeze good.
Sometimes proofing is as simple as striking a phrase, and sometimes it’s a matter of rephrasing a sentence. Sometimes it’s fixing errors like the 17 examples of “gallery” that should have been “museum,” and sometimes it’s correcting the misspelling of “Novak Djokovic.” And then there are pages like 217 that are more covered in red pen with notes in the margin and XXX’s over the current text. I’d share a screen shot if it wouldn’t give away a plot point.
My biggest challenge is in continuity. When I edit, I sometimes forget the time of day, the location, and the outfit of my characters. (I’ve been fried for this in early reviews on other books so now I’m hyper-sensitive.) So imagine my freak out on page 130 when I realized I’d set the scene in the wrong office of the gallery museum!
But the absolute beauty of proofing comes when I happen upon something I forgot I wrote and I laugh out loud—which happened twice this time. (The extra bonus is that I can’t remember where it happened, but the Capricorn in me made me find it. I’m not telling.)
I have H-U-G-E respect for any person who writes a book and H-U-G-E respect for any person who puts it out there for others to read. Because no matter how many times we do it, one thing remains constant. There are easier ways to spend our time, but this is what we love to do. So put on your party hats and help celebrate Samantha Kidd’s latest escapade involving an exhibit of hats at the local museum. And whatever you do, don’t fear the reaper!