For those of you interested in the publishing process I’ll describe the latest with Ashes of a Black Frost. For those of you not interested…you probably stopped reading several words ago, so as you are no longer reading this I feel safe in saying your mother dresses you funny and you have a booger hanging out of your nose 🙂
After I handed in the manuscript for Ashes, my editor went through it asking me big picture questions like does this scene resolve this issue from way back in book 1 etc. After a short pout (authors believe everything they write is brilliant so it’s always a shock when someone disagrees) I stopped holding my breath and revised the manuscript. FYI, it’s bigger and better as a result of my editor’s input, so thanks Ed (yes, his name is Ed, Ed the editor). At this point, I sent it back to my editor (Ed) who in turn sent it on to a copy editor to add commas where appropriate and remove others where not, and otherwise make me sound like English is my first language. I then received the fully marked up manuscript to go over again and essentially sign off on the corrections, answer any queries (how can the sun be in his eyes when it’s two in the morning?) and resolve any discrepancies (in book one she smokes a pipe and wears a red dress, in this book she’s a goat).
With that done it goes back to Ed who then gets it to production. They’re the folks that take the manuscript and all the revisions and format it as actually pages in a book. The first set of pages so formatted are called, wait for it…first page proofs. This is the first time we see the manuscript as it will appear between the covers. It’s also the last chance (almost) to make any revisions. Significantly changing the book at this point requires a lot of reformatting by production which is both expensive and can change the page count of the book which in turn can alter the number of signatures (groups of pages bound together to make the book) which ultimately impacts the final thickness of the book and therefore the size of the spine. But wait, there’s more. If the spine changes then the parameters of the jacket need to change too otherwise it won’t fit quite right. And if the changes were big enough it could even change the final price of the book, but that would be an extreme example that rarely happens because it causes massive headaches for everyone from the sales force to the accounts.
Anyway, my revisions to the first page proofs were fairly minor with only a few tweaks toward the end of the book dealing with the resolution of some loose ends. There’s a tendency when re-reading to start to think of other ways you could have handled a scene, but unless it’s so stunningly amazing that angels will weep and birds will sing your name, you really have to fight that urge. If you don’t, you could end up re-writing the same book forever.
So I am happy to say Ashes of a Black Frost, the third and final book in the Iron Elves adventure, is done. I’ll see second pages to verify the revisions to the first ones, but in another month the files will be off to the printer. Everything remains on track for the October pub date in North America and the UK. The translations will show up later as naturally they take more time to create.