This is the cover for the forthcoming Cast in Fury, an October 2008 release from Luna Books. The cover itself came in the mail with the line-edits/copy-edits for, oddly enough, the same book, and I’ve been reading those.
Which made me think of the stages of a book. Because I have a severe sensitivity to outlines, I will do almost anything to avoid writing them. This would include writing the whole book first. Because all writers work in their own unique ways, this isn’t meant to be prescriptive, and it’s not meant to offer advice; it’s just a statement of what I do.
So… in my case, I basically sit down, over a period of several months, and write the book. This would include all the hair-pulling, all the revisions and editing, that go into writing a book before it’s submitted. After I write the book, I submit it to my publisher (in this case, Luna), and I go on to think about and start a different book. But some months after I’ve submitted a book, I will hear back from my editor. My editor will point out certain infelicities in clarity (I am, of course, being kind to myself here), and allow me to revise the manuscript before it’s line-edited. It will then be sent out to a copy-editor. I won’t see the original line-edit until after the copy-editor has also done a pass through the book, at which point, the book will be sent back to me with all of the editing and copy-editing marks.
At this stage, I go through the manuscript again, and I look at all the queries — because sometimes copy-editors will catch things like eye colour changes (I am not, sadly, very good at this. I knew my husband for several years before I realized that he had blue eyes. I am not, unfortunately, making this up, and this lack of awareness on my part does translate into fiction because it’s something I have to consciously reach for unless the eye colour is an integral part of character). I will also look at other changes, and sometimes I will change things back to the original.
On the whole, though, I don’t, because on the whole, copy-editors are very, very helpful people. When I’ve finished going through this, I will pack up the pages with red ink (mine) and send them back to my editor (or in this case, her assistant). The changes are incorporated and the book then goes to production. I am not entirely certain in the case of Luna at which stage a font is chosen, so I’m not sure which department does that. But after it goes to production, I will get what Harlequin calls page proofs, but which are not quite that.
They are the book, in standard manuscript font (12 pt. courier) with line numbers beside each line of text. At this stage, I am proof-reading and catching any typos that might have been missed or introduced when the other edits were keyed-in. I will not see the actual, printed book page until I have the book in hand, although I believe in-house there are proof-readers who will get a print out of the actual page proofs as well.
So, I am not yet done with Cast in Fury. I have one more read-through after this, at which point, the book will be complete on my end.