First come the edits. Sending the manuscript off for the first edit is pretty much terrifying. I always assume the worst: that they hate it and want to take back their acceptance of my proposal. One day, when I was writing my first C&T book, a small book-sized box arrived at my house, from C&T. I couldn't open it for three days because I was convinced they had sent back the manuscript with a "never mind" note attached. When I finally screwed up my courage, I discovered the box held lovely gifts from the publisher, with a "welcome to the family" note. Sometimes I'm such a dork.
But the truth is, I enjoy editing. Getting the first, raw words on the page can be a struggle. Seeing the words through an editor's eyes is a real treat. My main editor on both books, Cynthia Bix, has been a pleasure to work with. Always sensitive to retaining my "voice", she has a keen eye for sharpening up a sentence. I do believe I love her.
This is the first time I will see the book with the pictures and the words together. This is the last chance to make major changes. I need to make sure that the step out pictures have been taken properly, that they focus on the right aspect of the sample, that sort of thing. It's a chance to rearrange hunks of text to make the book flow top notch.
And it's an office supply addict's dream come true. Using four colors of post it tags (five actually because I added another category after this picture was taken) I was able to flag pages where I had issues or suggestions. Larger post its were used to attach notes. It took me the better part of a week to go over it and over it and over again. And then off it went, back to the publisher.
Some where along the line I get to see the cover design. The book designer and I talk about what I'd like the book to look like, overall tone and personality of the printed page. I am totally thrilled with the cover, but it's too soon to show on the blog. Sorry! (Don't you just hate it when a blogger says "I'm doing all this work on this spectacular project, but it's top secret for now." It feels kind of neiner, neiner, neiner to me.)
Now we're up to date. About a week ago the sample pages arrived in an email. (I do love technology!) It's my first chance to see the words and pictures formatted as they will be in the final book. This is another opportunity to make suggestions and correct errors. And it's darned giddifying. (That's a technical term, I'm sure of it.) Just now I received an email from my tech editor approving my suggested changes (they were pretty minor).
I'll see the book one more time before it goes to print. It will be my absolutely last chance to make any changes. It's been just over nine months since the proposal was accepted, and work began. It does feel like giving birth. Seeing and feeling it grow to maturity, having professionals to make sure that it's healthy, and finally, a crack team to deliver it to a quilt shop near you.