Thursday, November 30, 2006

JENNY: Copy Edits and Shorter Pith

For those of you tracking us through the publishing journey, we are now two thirds of the way through the copy edits. That’s when the revised manuscript comes back having been edited by someone trained to find all the grammar and punctuation mistakes along with continuity and factual errors and anything else we screwed up. We still have to go over the manuscript because you never know who you’re going to draw as a copy editor. You can get some real nightmares who think they know how to write better than you do and start changing your words or sometimes they’re just inept and don’t catch your mistakes. And really, it’s up to you to know grammar and punctuation, they’re your tools as much as vocabulary and syntax. Our copy editor was pretty good except for a tendency to miss the forest for the trees. One of my faves was a line Mare has where she’s explaining their family history to Crash and says that they were pretty lucky in the past in that there were only a couple of pond duckings and just one burning at the stake, and then adds that heads are gonna roll for that one “if we ever get time travel.” The copy editor changed that to “time to travel.” That’s the kind of thing you just look at and shudder. Thank God we caught it.

Since there are three of us, the copy edit became a moveable feat. I got it the day before Thanksgiving (sent to me by Needles, the same person who sent me the copy edit at the SMP dinner in Atlanta, I believe) and sent it on to Krissie the following Monday (hey, I had pies to make and then I had to go over the river and through the woods), who turned it around at lightning speed and sent it to Eileen who was supposed to get it today except they’re having ice storms where she is. We’ll see it one more time, in galleys, also called page proofs, sheets of paper that look exactly like the pages of the finished book. I love those. We’re not supposed to rewrite on those, but I do. I’m going to try not to this time because I think the book is in pretty good shape except for Toledo and the shivers, but everybody else is slapping my hands on those so I’m just going to have to let it go.

Then there’s the copy line for the cover. The others were too long and not sexy enough. I don’t do sexy. I’m sorry, I’m just not one of those “He was a hunka hunka burnin’ love” blurb writers. But Jen came back and said marketing needed a shorter blurb so it would fit on the cover and it needed to be hotter to describe the book. So I suggested “THE UNFORTUNATE MISS FORTUNES: Coming their brains out on every page. “ She loved it but she didn’t think marketing would go for it. Those people in marketing; no vision. So then I tried, “The only thing wilder than their magic is their men,” and I think that one stuck. We’ll see. Well, you’ll see. As soon as we get a cover design, we’ll post it here.

So that’s where we are. Moving right along. At a fairly rapid clip for publishing, really. Next time you see one of those shows where a character writes a book and it’s in the bookstores the following month, you can snicker because you know the truth.

It takes longer than that to write the blurb.


Anonymous ol' biddy said...

Old copywriter's saying: It takes longer to write shorter.

December 01, 2006 9:18 AM  
Anonymous ol' biddy said...

Also, loved your cover lines. You can go even shorter with the magic/men seesaw, with something like "Jaw-dropping magic...heart-stopping men!"

December 01, 2006 9:54 AM  
Blogger Scope Dope Cherrybomb said...

I love these insights into publishing. Thanks to the three of you for taking the time to do this.

I just finished 55,775 words for NaNoWriMo and I don't think I have anything even close to publishable and that took me a month. I am not vain enough to think I can write a book in less than a year if it took you experts that long.

December 01, 2006 7:03 PM  
Blogger Sheri said...

I loved the blurbs--if I ever get around to getting a book published, I know where to go for blurb advice! *grin*

And thanks for the advice about the copy editor. When I was in college I used to type term papers for other students for money. I always gave them back a better paper than they started out with because I would edit the thing and re-write it as I typed. Maybe I missed my calling--sounds like I was a copy editor and didn't know it!!

December 02, 2006 5:07 PM  
Blogger orangehands said...

this was kind of sad. i looked at it and recognized the title. but it looked longer. took me a few too many minutes for me to realize this was a new post.

i am so excited for this book.

but i think i do like that "just one damn thing after another one" better (makes me laugh every time)

love the insights into publishing though. thank you.

hey sheri, i have this paper...actually, when friends would ask me to look over papers i would do the same thing- couldn't help myself.

December 04, 2006 7:08 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home