Monday, September 12, 2005

author review in progress...almost complete

The Author Review stage of book-writin' is the last chance for major edits before the chapters go to layout. After chapters come back from layout, I get to review PDFs of the pages that will be in the actual book...but I still get to make changes if they're minor. "Minor" means "anything that doesn't affect page flow" because that really pisses off the layout people (and rightfully so). Most of what I note in the PDF review portion is stuff that didn't keep its formatting or breaks in weird places, things like that. But we're not there yet.

I have handed back two chapters of AR, and have five here to do, and two more have yet to get to me (one has but there was a mixup and I'm not sure what's going on with it right now). These chapters look pretty good. I am blessed with a great tech editor (handpicked!) and a great copyeditor (Hi Mike!). I know that a lot of authors don't dig the copyeditor or they think they're silly folks who get too bent out of shape about comma splices and what not, but a good copyeditor is such a relief for me. I write my books just like I write a blog post, which is to say it's somewhat stream-of-consciousness. Not in a James Joyce way, more like "this is the way it comes out of my brain and I don't think about it ahead of time and boy am I glad the stuff in my brain is already fairly formed." I go back and reread it for clarity, but I don't stress over making it perfect.

After I turn in an original chapter, it goes to the tech editor who reviews it for technical accuracy and clarity. After tech editing it goes to the development editor (I think), who looks at it from an overall "does this suckfit" perspective. After that, the copyeditor gets it, and makes sure I haven't split an infinitive or something, and changes all instances of "press this button" to "click this button" and what not. Then it comes back to me and I address all the tech editor/dev editor questions, any questions from the copyeditor, update any screenshots (the Internet changes rapidly, you know) and send it back.

It's all very exciting, and not terribly stressful at all; the author review is my favorite part of the process.