Thankfully, considering I’m an editor, I received a pretty light copyedit. Comments from two copyeditors dotted my manuscript. Even though I recommend that my clients spell out all numerals, I had applied my own advice inconsistently. I had to decide when God was the almighty or the god of casual “oh my—” usage. My “blonde” was changed to “blond.” I surrendered a few commas, they traded a few back. One editor pointed out the possible unintentional humor in the sentence, “By the time we got to the butt-blaster, Angela looked pooped.” I had two weeks to address these edits and make any other final changes.
My first glimpse at the interior design and all its elements! Everything looked great. Because my book quotes "articles" written by a character who is a dance critic, and in one place contains a formal invitation, we had a little back-and-forth on how that would be handled.
|Cover of The Art of Falling by Kathryn Craft |
Click to enlarge
Advance Review Copy cover
I could now see the ARC cover, with its eye-catching spine, in its entirety. Playing counterpoint to the breathtaking simplicity of the front is the busy back cover, which carries the three blurbs that made the April 22 deadline—any additional blurbs that come in by October 1 will be used on the final book. The back cover copy is the result of a collaboration between the editorial director, my editors, and me. Because this is where content meets marketing meets design, one wrong step could...well, if you look at the back cover, I guess you can figure out where I was going with that. Every word is so critical that Sourcebooks continued to tweak the tagline even after I approved it—thank goodness, because I love how this final version speaks to the novel’s layers! The way they "stepped" its design adds to its impact.
Advance Reader Copy Edits
I had nine days to turn this edit around and did it in five. It is so much easier to read a well-designed novel than a manuscript! The font's long ascenders and descenders give strong visual cues. The spacing between lines, added to the shorter line length, speeds reading and aids comprehension. Editing this copy was a new experience as words stacked differently on the page. I made twenty small tweaks, none of them large enough to affect the flow of the text on the page, but all of them definite improvements.
An example: “So although he never asked me to stay, I did.”
I changed this to: “So although he never asked me to, I stayed.”
“Stayed” is a stronger end to this sentence, and meaningfully impregnates the white space before the next paragraph with stillness.
This final edit was the most gratifying step of the journey. All of our efforts had come together in one place: The cover. A page of praise. The title page. The copyright page. The dedication. The epigraphs. The story, fully shaped, thoroughly edited, and now so beautifully laid out, with the movement of story and prose underscored by sweeping drops caps and line break swishes. The acknowledgements, honoring all who helped me get here. The "Reading Group Guide," where I can engage with my readers. "A Conversation with the Author," that shares some background about the story and my relationship to it. The author photo taken by my son. "About the Author," a brief sketch of my career. Each element contributing as my manuscript became a book.
And by the time I write my next Countdown post, I will have held one in my hands. My next post will tell you what all is being done with it.
Just catching up? Here are links to the other posts in this series:
Countdown to a Book 1: Joining Hands
Countdown to a Book 2: Pitching
Countdown to a Book 3: Getting My Agent
Countdown to a Book 4: Developmental Editing
Countdown to a Book 5: All About Image
Countdown to a Book 6: From Writer to Author
Countdown to a Book 7: Five Tips for Getting Blurbs
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service. Her women's fiction and memoir are represented by Katie Shea at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. Her monthly series, "Countdown to a Book," details the traditional publication of her debut novel, The Art of Falling, by Sourcebooks in January 2014. Connect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.