When I was a kid, the UPS man used to bring me packages filled with Christmas gifts. Now he drops off my book proofs instead, but opening the manila envelopes they come in feels a lot like unwrapping presents.
Yesterday the doorbell rang and I dashed for the door as fast as any of my cats do when chasing ghosts around the apartment. (Mice ghosts, I’m sure.) I never know when book proofs are coming, so I’m always slightly surprised when they appear. The last set of proofs was for copyediting, so they simply contained the text of the book, double-spaced and printed like a really long term paper. Once we whipped the text into its most perfect version, it was handed to a book designer. The designer took that text and laid it out all nice and pretty like it will appear in the final published product.
The proofs I received yesterday are of that version which includes the copyright notice, the publisher’s logo, and all those little details that real books have. (I love what they did with the “i” in Vicodin!) Now I get to review the work again and look for any errors in the text or formatting. It’s also my final chance to make any corrections before the book is sent to the printing press (aside from any last-minute frantic calls to my editor in the middle of the night if I suddenly realize we misplaced a comma).
As a designer, I get a little thrill looking at the crop marks in the margins and reading the file name printed at the bottom of each page. It looks like they used Adobe InDesign CS5 to typeset the book, which is the industry standard, and they made it all fit on 294 pages. We keep getting closer and closer to the pub date, so it won’t be too much longer before you can hold a real copy in your hands, or view it on your e-reader. I’ll have to review these proofs first, though, so I guess I should stop blogging and start proofing.