I’ve now gone through the copyedited ms and am starting to deal with the queries. For anyone unfamiliar with this I’ll explain. The copy editor is given his or her marching orders from the editor – “Dear god, this is a mess, fix it!” to “A light pass is all that’s needed.” When the copy editor returns the ms there are typically post-its with queries throughout asking for clarification (more places are moving toward doing this electronically, but thankfully for this dinosaur we’re still using paper) and noting any incongruence. The queries will range from noting that the color of a character’s hair has changed from one chapter to another to questioning if a word or term sounds appropriate to the time period in question and so on. The editor will look through these first and deal with or remove any queries that are easy to deal with and/or may enrage or otherwise upset the author. The editor then has his/her assistant make a copy of the copyedited ms to ensure all this work isn’t lost (and what loads of fun that is copying a ms with post-its sticking all over it.) The copy is then sent to the author with a very short time frame to get it back to the editor. This is done for two reasons: 1, because time is always of the essence, and 2, because it gives the author less time to make massive rewrites. As I’ve been reading I’ve found a few areas I want to tweak, but overall I’m pleased with the copyedit (the copyeditor made some great catches) and looking forward to the next stage.
I’ll try to keep a running post as the book moves toward the pub date in July and am happy to answer questions if anyone is curious about how all this works. Keep in mind, though, that my split personality of editor-author makes me about the worst possible example as I know just enough to be really, really dangerous.