I spent five hours in a boardroom today at Penguin Canada, working with Sandra on her two proofreaders’ queries and notes. Coffees, and I brought chocolate chip cookies when we took a break, since this was a heroic session for her, most of her workday. I was dealing with their notes, she was inputting my page by page responses into the master copy, which will now be turned into the printed and bound book for April.
She outdid my choc chips with an elegantly casual mention that one of the two freelance proofreaders had written ‘This is a masterpiece’ on the last page of her copy. She said she’d never seen that before. I said that this was an exemplary demonstration of proper care and feeding of the wild author.
Levity aside, this felt awfully rewarding. It is the first ‘outsider’ response to the book. Only people I know had seen it to that point. I never have any idea who the freelance proofreaders are (though have asked that my thanks be relayed for careful work here). It is obviously and always reassuring to get support from any readers, especially for a new book, and it is even more so to hear such words from professionals in the business.
Even at this stage errors or typos get caught – that’s why three people plus Sandra are prowling through the manuscript. I was proud of myself last week for spotting a directional error that everyone had missed (score for Team Author, late in the fourth quarter). But there was a naming error right in chapter one that got spotted — it was caught by a reader of the Facebook uploads, too! (Thanks are going out there, as well.)
As Sandra and I were pushing through the pages, Nicole came in herself to give me my first copy of an ARC. These will start going out in January to selected media outlets, then more widely to reviewers in February. There may be a few surprises before that. (Chapter 2, by the way, will only be on the Facebook site for a little longer – that share/read really was conceived as a short term bonus for those who like tasters. Chapter 1 will migrate to the main publisher sites and likely stay up until the book is out, that’s becoming fairly standard.)
After we were done, I shuttled down to the marketing department wing. Beth and Charidy each got to rap my knuckles. They were grinning at me but pretending to be kind: I had been pretty edgy about the decision to bump the ‘Share’ level from 150 to 500. It was heading into a Friday, the weekend has next to no publisher activity, it seemed a big number for a second go-around … but they’d been sublimely at-ease and sanguine.
Shows how much I know. Though I don’t think any of them would pass a lie detector test if they tried to say they expected the 500 level to be reached in just over 24 hours. Bottom line, marketing heads get social media rhythms better than the author does. What a stunning surprise! Who could have predicted it?
I will retreat with such grace as I can muster, with my single malt. It is a cold night out there.