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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Copy Edits - The End

Copy edits are done and I'm tired. My only goal for the day is to get to bed really early and catch up on some sleep. Not a lofty aim, but a necessary one.

I mentioned this before, but I always forget how much work copy edits are. They come and I have 2.5 weeks and I think, wow, I won't need all that time. I'll get them done early and get back to the WIP. Then in the first few days, I realize that mailing time comes off the 2.5 weeks, but that's still 2 weeks. I still should be able to get them done early and 2 pages of copy editor (CE) queries aren't that much.

I start with an initial read through, making the easy/quick changes that the CE has mentioned. That took care of about half the queries, which is good, but I start to get an inkling that I'm not going to get the manuscript turned around in a week, especially when the one day I think it will take expands to three days.

Next, I needed to add the changes I'd made to the story after I'd turned it in. Nothing impacted the plot or the structure, but there was some tightening up, some changes of phrasing. I expected to have this done in one day, too. Again, I was wrong. I think it ended up taking 2 days, but only because there was a big stretch without many of these little adjustments.

The next run through was to hit the harder copy editor queries. By this point, I've got five days left before the copy edits need to be sent out. So much for early, right? This ends up taking 2 full weekend days, leaving me with only 3 days for a final polishing read through. I used all of those days. I swear, I don't know why I can't not use a few words/phrases every sentence. Okay, slight exaggeration, but wouldn't it be nice if the word processing software would throw a window up that says, You've used the word "still" fifty times, are you sure you want to use it again? Then I would realize what I was doing and cut the word. I have a few of those kinds of words and I spent a lot of time crossing them out. Sigh.

I finished last night, the night before it needed to go to Fed Ex, around 7:30 or so. I had to write a dedication/acknowledgements page, too. Okay, I didn't have to, but I wanted to. That's hard for me.

Oh! And all along with the copy edits, I'm sharpening and resharpening my colored pencil because the point would get too blunt too quickly and I needed a sharp point so that the changes I wrote in were clear. On previous books, I'd searched for colored mechanical pencil lead, but only came up with red, which I'm not allowed to use because that's what the CE uses. Well, Wednesday I only did a search for colored pencils on Amazon--not lead--and discovered there's a collection of colored lead mechanical pencils with built-in sharpeners. Argh! If only I'd found them 2 weeks ago! I ordered them, but watch, my publisher will change to electronic copy edits for my next book and I'll never use them. That wouldn't surprise me at all.