Dawn Colclasure's Blog

Author and poet Dawn Colclasure

Saturday, December 04, 2010

They grow so fast

As a writing parent, I’m used to a child tugging on my sleeve or pulling me away from something that I’m working on. This week, however, it wasn’t a real child pulling me away from my usual writing-related tasks, but a virtual one: one of my books going through the rigors of getting published.

One would think that after a book has been accepted by a publisher, after going through extensive edits and revisions, that all would be well and it was only a matter of time before the manuscript is turned into an actual book. Not so with the haunted houses book!

The first hurdle was making corrections to the galley which my co-author and I received. As I read it over, I noticed several mistakes, as well as some things I needed to clear with certain people in order to avoid legal problems. After I finished THAT and resubmitted the proofs to the publisher, I thought we were all done.

Nope, not by a long shot!

The publisher was unable to electronically send the revised galley to both my co-author and I, mainly because it’s a VERY. BIG. FILE. (This is a VERY big book, which is why I’m grateful for a co-author. I could not have possibly done all that work by myself!) So she asked if I was okay with her sending it on to the printer sight unseen.

You can only imagine the terror and anxiety that flooded through me after she asked me that question. What! I can’t see the final galley?? I can’t look at it just one more time? Just to make sure everything is perfect? I can’t see it before it’s turned into a book for the world at large to read??

My inner perfectionist started to have an anxiety attack. I was practically pacing around the room, wringing my hands over the whole decision, struggling on what to decide. I consulted with my co-author and she said if I feel everything is in order, tell the publisher go right on ahead and send it to the printer.

The question was, DID I feel everything was in order? My thoughts were in chaos. What if there’s a missing comma somewhere? What if somebody’s name is spelled wrong and I missed it? What if the publisher forgot to remove a note I left for her on one page, about inserting a picture there instead of in the other place? What if “euphemized” was not corrected to “euthanized,” as I’d corrected in my proofs? What if everything was all scrunched up together again, and not spaced out, as I made sure of when making corrections? WHAT IF I MISSED SOMETHING???

But I had to really come to terms with this. I had to accept that this was out of my hands now. It was either now or never! Do or die!

So … after I somehow or another managed to wrap Duct tape around the mouth of my inner perfectionist … and somehow or another managed to accept that I had to let it go without just one more look at it to make sure everything was perfect … I said yes. Go ahead. Send it to the printer.

God help me! After I said “yes,” I was practically covering my head and filled with dread over what would happen next. The book would come out. Yes, I’d be happy. But not so happy if it had mistakes in it. Gulp!

But, actually, that wasn’t what happened next.

Actually, I got an email from the publisher saying, and I'm paraphrasing here, “The printer sent the file back to me. Something was wrong with it. Please resend everything and I’ll start over.”

I brightened. Really? I can go over it again? I can look at the files one more time and make sure it’s all up to snuff?


The publisher sent another email and said that she was going to use what I sent before, so don’t worry. Don’t have to do anything.

Drat. I held out new hope I could see this NEW revised galley, but, ‘twas not to be. She fixed it up, sent it on, and now the waiting begins. Or, in my case, some serious nail-biting. Gah! Once again, I could not see the final galley meant for the printer.

I really started to long for the days when everybody relied on REGULAR mail to mail everything, not email. Apparently, email is flawed, because GINORMOUS files can be rejected from an email server. I remember when, with the Tips book, the galley I corrected was a print galley. That is the only book of mine where I corrected a print galley, because all of the others have been electronic. Even edited manuscripts are sent back and forth electronically. If the publisher had sent my co-author and I the final galley through regular mail, we had a better chance of receiving it. (Though, of course, it would cost a lot of money. The manuscript is large, there are tons of photos, and she is based in Canada. My co-author is in Canada, so maybe it would not cost the publisher so much to ship it to her, but for me, it might cost her quite a pretty penny!) (And here again is another issue: Money. Sending galleys and whatnot is cheaper if you do it all by email. Which is good for me, actually, since I write so many books…)

But, que sera sera. We’ve gotten to this point, things are the way they are, and now here we were with what we had. So we had to make do with what we had in the best way possible! It was now time to let our baby go out into the world. We had all those years to work on it. Our baby has grown up and now we had to just hope that we have done as good a job as we could in raising it.

The corrected galley was sent to the printer, everything checked out okay, and now we wait. Meanwhile, the publisher put the book on her site, I posted about it on my site, my co-author posted about it on her blog and in her newsletter, and we are working on spreading the word about it through Facebook and Twitter. Now we watch. And wait. And hope.

And get to work on raising the next one.

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