The Proof is in … THE MAIL
For those of you who are unfamiliar with what it takes to make a book ready to appear in stores (which was me up until very recently), I thought I’d give you a little insight.
Once my editor and I agreed that the manuscript was in its final form, it was sent off to layout. The fine folks over there are tasked with turning a manuscript that looks like any other Word document into something that looks like a book you’d buy from the store (and also into what you see on your Kindle or other e-reader device). They decide what font face and type size, what characters will be used for line/scene breaks, what the spacing will be, and other very important aspects of what the book is going to look like when you get it.
One of the things that layout does is let us know (I say us, this is all on the Publisher, but they’re letting me know about this stuff because they’re rad) what the final page count for the book is going to be. This is necessary to know how thick the book is going to be. I had no idea this was a thing, but it is.
The final page count gets sent to the cover artist, who can then cast some sort of magical spell and thereby know exactly how to design the wrap-around version of the cover. The artist lays out the back cover, which includes the copy my editor and I agreed on (super short summary of the story), the publisher’s logo, UPC code, ISBN etc. The front and back cover are then connected by a spine of the appropriate size for the page count (again: witchcraft!).
While this magical cover stuff is happening, TOP PEOPLE set to reviewing the work of the layout artists. They check for any errors that may have made it through the editing process or that may have happened during the conversion process. The unbound preview pages are called galleys and they’re the last chance for the publisher to fix anything imperfect.
Once the galleys are approved (sometimes there at several back-and-forths between the publisher and layout person), they are put together with the wrap-around version of the cover, and then a proof can be ordered from the printer.
And THAT JUST HAPPENED!
I will be able to meet my book before the end of the month.
That’s a big thing.
As long as the proof gets approved, then off to the printer for the first run, so that stock is available for purchase on release day.
It’s all VERY EXCITING.