In my previous post in this series, “Photo Shoot,” I wrote about my experience with getting an author photo taken that I actually liked. While it took a bit of scheduling, let’s face it, having your photo taken isn’t exactly what I’d call arduous work (and in truth, it was kind of fun).
This past week bolted me back to reality as I received my first Galley Proof for The Hanged Man’s Noose from the publisher at Barking Rain Press. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, the purpose of the galley is to catch any remaining niggling errors which remain after months of editing. You might think that after a couple dozen reviews the manuscript would be perfect, but here’s the thing: read something in a word document format long enough, and you’re guaranteed to miss the odd thing. Not to mention that after about read #10, there’s a tendency to skip over stuff because, well, you’ve read it nine other times—and you know how it’s going to end.
I can’t speak to what other publishing houses use, but Barking Rain uses a software program called ProofHQ (if you click on the ProofHQ link, there’s a little how-to video you can watch). The idea is that multiple users can make suggestions, corrections and comments on one shared document, which saves on misunderstandings and emails back and forth.
But it’s even more than that. My ProofHQ of The Hanged Man’s Noose looked just like an eBook, with the same formatting, fonts and style that you’d find in a print or digital edition! Suddenly, things that had looked just fine in Word looked a bit wonky in book format. As an example, to my eye, I had overused italics just a smidgen—not a lot, mind you, but enough times that I felt it needed addressing.
There were a few other minor things, such as an incident where I used “loft” instead of “lot” (you see, spellcheck really doesn’t catch everything), but a few hours of concentrated reading, spread over a few days, and now the Galley Proof will be reviewed by the publisher (again) before going to a professional proofreader for one final review.
Next steps? To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. But I promise to keep you posted, just as long as you keep on reading.
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