The past few weeks have resembled those in lockdown, when I waited to receive the first proofs of my book. I was thrilled when they arrived and to see the great job done on the cover (I had four choices). One was particularly perfect for my story The (almost) true story of a man called Jack. But the hard work was far from over, as I now had the task of scrutinising the printed pages for any errors in the text, or any changes I wished to make to the proof. Before sending the manuscript to the print company I had gone over and over that MS, as well as having someone proof it a little earlier on in the process.
It is well known that writers often miss small glitches in their own work, and this was certainly true for me. It is because we become too familiar with the text and simply skim over stuff. So, with a red pen in hand I close-read the story, using appropriate proofreaders’ marks in the margin, as to exactly what should go in, or be taken out. Believe me, it took FOREVER. I began to wonder why I’d written a 260 page story at all!
I was a little unhappy with the position of the titles, and the font used on the first inside pages, so I set to drawing up roughs, indicating where I’d like the titles placed, and suggested another font. The main body of text was done in Bookman Old Style, which fitted the era of the story well (nineteen-fifties and -sixties). I was happy with that, although I still had some concern about the size of the chapter headings and placement – I wanted the pages formatted differently, with wider margins and different spacings.
Finally, I sent off the marked-up sample book and my pages of instruction, accompanied by a pleasant letter to the designer. She sent me through sample pages a week later online and I was very pleased with the changes.
I delayed putting this post out as I expected to have the final copy in my hands by now and was intending to write excitedly of its arrival. But a problem with the courier delivery means I must keep up my waiting vigil. They say that patience is a virtue. If that is even part true, I must be very virtuous indeed with the patience I’ve needed to see this book through to fruition. Next week? I certainly hope so.