Out of My Hands

 

There is nothing even keel or humdrum about this whole “write a book and send it out into the world” thing. It’s thrilling! And it’s terrifying.

Think about it: you write a book. You pour your soul into it. You show it to a trusted few readers who give you lots of encouragement and lots of work to do. So you get back to work, revising, reworking, rethinking.

Then one miraculous day, the book is acquired. Thrilling! And you get your first editorial letter. And then another. Then there are line edits and copy edits, and with each new round, you worry: “What if I can’t get it right?” What if I mess it all up?”

But you do your best, and you trust your story. Then before you know it, it’s time for the first page pass, which just may be the most thrilling and terrifying of all.  Let’s start with the terrifying, just to get it out of the way.

  1. This is your last chance to change anything before the book goes to print.
  2. The ARCs will be made from the same file, so any mistakes in the FPPs will be seen by anyone reviewing the book.
  3. This is your last chance to change anything.

But seeing those pages for the first time is also incredibly thrilling.

See the font they chose? Doesn’t it look … well, parched?

And look, the name of that chapter’s point of view character is at the bottom of each page.

Okay, I did more than just admire the typesetting. I combed through every sentence, hunting for errors and inconsistencies. I write pretty thin, so every little change feels enormous. Like this one, on page 4, line 15 below: the fragment of the word “ing” ends before the indentation of the following paragraph begins. So my editor asked me to add a word. Just one. That should be easy enough, right?

Well, I wouldn’t say it was easy. But I did it. And as a reward, look what showed up on my doorstep over the weekend!

So that’s it. My job—the writing—is done.

It’s out of my hands. And that is truly thrilling. And truly terrifying.