Heading Into My Novel’s Final Stretch

This week begins one of the most exciting times of preparing my book for publication: the final read through. Or what I hope and pray to the literary gods will be the final read through.

A few weeks ago, I formatted my manuscript for The Maze (which now has its own webpage, ooh, ahh) to meet all the requirements that will turn it in to a lovely paperback book (more on why I do a print book later). Since this is the third book in the series, and I want each book in the series to have a similar look, the formatting was pretty much just replacing the previous book’s content with the new book’s content (okay, it’s a tad more involved than that, but it’s nothing like formatting a book from scratch…a topic which could be fodder for a future blog post).

Anyway, with book formatted, buttons pressed to magically transform it into a PDF, and file uploaded along with my fancy new cover to Createspace, I then wasted a bit of time pacing the house like an expectant father from the 1950s, just hoping Createspace would approve the files.

Finally (after about 24 hours) the email came through that all files were good to go. Yay!! I dashed onto the computer to order my proof copy. Once it arrived, I snapped a few pictures of my new baby like any proud parent. Then, I crammed my baby into a drawer and ignored it for four weeks (it’s probably good I didn’t have kids).

Into the drawer with you!!

Why did I neglect my child? Let’s just say, I needed a break from it (again, very good I didn’t reproduce). Stephen King (perhaps making a statement about his own parenting skills) in On Writing actually recommends ignoring your book for something like six months before you give it a final read through. Six months! Yeah right! I may not have the patience for that amount of time off, but I do know ignoring a book before heading into the final stretch of publication is vital because it allows you to see the book with fresh eyes.

Maybe it wasn’t LSD, maybe it was just too many manuscript read throughs.

And believe me, with all the errors one of my beta readers is catching**, this book demands fresh eyes. It’s an amazing bit of neuroscience (me having come from the realm of neuroscience research in a past life) that I have read this manuscript at least five times now and, because my eyes and brain have gotten so used to what they’re supposed to see, they don’t see what is actually there, including typos, missing words, duplicate words, and the like. Sometimes brains adapt too well.

**However, another beta reader has already raved about how quickly she was sucked into the story and couldn’t put it down. Woohoo!

After fours weeks, my brain feels fresh and clean (I’ve swabbed it out with several doses beer and wine) and I’m ready to tackle that final reading. While this is exciting, it’s also nerve-wracking. I’m desperately hoping I only find typos and grammatical errors, not plot holes that will require another round of rewrites. I would keep my fingers crossed, but then I would just end up with more typos.

 

So why I do a print book for this final read through? After all, the proof copy costs me something like $8, which equates to a couple beers during some happy hour offers around Portland. Why not just format it for an ebook and use that?

Because although I will endure ebooks for some reading (such as during travel when I would go way over the baggage weight limit if I took all the print books I wanted to), I am not an ebook reader. I prefer to have a “real” book in hand when I read. Plus, when I see a mistake, I can easily whip out the red pen and mark up my proof copy…and believe me, these proof copies look like a scene from a Scorsese movie (or a wedding in Westeros) by the time I’m done with them.

Finn’s always a bit too eager to grab that red pen and “help.”

And for those of you who think print books may be dead, here’s bizarre statistic…of my book sales so far this year, I’ve sold eight times the number of print books than ebooks. Bizarre indeed.

Sorry, this has turned into a rambling, pointless post, but I promise I’ll be back Saturday with something a little more inebriating from Finn McSpool.

Yes, that may be just enough books for vacation, Finn. Maybe.

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12 thoughts on “Heading Into My Novel’s Final Stretch

  1. Tan M Butler says:

    How exciting to be very nearly there. Your plan sounds good but I don’t know if I could wait 6 months either! Fingers crossed all spelling, grammar and punctuation is 100% accurate. I like your idea of printing it off and going through the book with a pen, I agree with the logic on that one! Love the images in this post too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • painterwrite says:

      Thanks! It’s always tricky finding images for posts in which I just ramble on. I don’t know how anyone can wait six months to finalize a book. I suppose if I could start another book while waiting for the other one to “mature” it might be possible, but my head gets too full of one book to start another until the first gets gets thrown out into the world. Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. crawcraftsbeasties says:

    Woohoooooo! You’re on the final furlong now… And after reading this I’m double-excited to get my (print, naturally) copies of the first two books in the series! I also agree with you about reading off paper vs reading from screens – even if I reread something thoroughly before printing, it’s rare that I catch all the typos. Long live print! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • painterwrite says:

      Oh, the nervous dread of having someone I “know” read my books. I do hope you enjoy them, or at least can make use of them as a paperweight, wonky table leg balancer, Beastie stuffing, or as fuel on a chilly Irish day. As for copyediting without printing, I don’t know how anyone does it. They must have magic robot vision or something. But at least they’re saving the trees for the likes of me and my need for print. Now, I have to go look up just how long a furlong is to see how far I have to go.

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      • crawcraftsbeasties says:

        Ha! Don’t worry, by the time they arrive you will have forgotten I ordered them! And did you think about preparing for the other worst case scenario, where I enjoy the story so much that I keep pestering you for the next installment? 😀
        Oh, and speaking of print, apparently we’re on the winning side… I heard recently that there’s been a movement back towards the good ol’ paper book again!

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  3. weekesgaehl says:

    Wow, what an accomplishment – huge congratulations!!! That is SO COOL. Your book-baby is way cuter than human babies (I feel that way about my music/writing too!!!) Also totes agree with you about the print reading. I can’t even do the Kindle for travel–I am the lunatic who packs four 500+ page Victorian novels for a 4 day vacation.

    Liked by 1 person

    • painterwrite says:

      Me too! I mean travel is stressful enough, is it fair to add to my stress by making me CHOOSE only one book to take? No! However, I will admit to not only filling my iPad with books, but also taking one or two paperbacks as well, and then “adopting” a few books along the way. I may need help. Plus with the editing, it’s really hard to get red pen marks off your iPad screen!

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