The lifecycle of a novel is a long one. First I submit a proposal to my editor. This usually consists of three chapters and a synopsis. If she likes what she sees, she makes my agent an offer. They haggle a bit and finally everything is agreed upon.And we're off to the races.
I may or may not adhere to my original synopsis and in the case of VEXING THE VISCOUNT, this story didn't even have a title. It was the option book in a 2 book contract, so I had free rein for the story. That's both liberating and terrifying. Even before my editor reads the story, she writes the back cover blurb and gets the art department working on the cover. I have some imput at this point, but no veto power. I'm writing like a demon, fear nipping my heels. I might finish the entire novel and turn it in, only to have my editor hate it. (She didn't, thank heaven! In fact, she loves VEXING more than my PIRATE book)
Once I turn the manuscript in (about 9 months prior to publication) my editor takes a crack at it, suggesting revisions while the manuscript is also shopped out to a copy editor who minds all my P's and Q's. I take a look at the revisions and my editor and I negotiate changes. This part of the process is exciting. The book begins to sparkle like a gem.
Then the revised manuscript is turned over to an editorial assistant who formats it into its final form, called a galley. In a galley, the book is printed two pages to a sheet of paper in the same size font as the book will appear. The galley for VEXING THE VISCOUNT arrived in the mail today. This is my last chance to make changes in the manuscript, but there's a caveat. At this point, the book's already been typeset. Every change costs money so there is no re-writing now. If there's a typo or a mistake that will alter the meaning of the sentence, I can make a change, but I need to be judicious about it. YOu may wonder why some books have errors in them. This is why.
Sometimes, things pop up in galleys that weren't in my original manuscript. Sometimes entire sentences. They stand out to me like a cuckoo's egg. I have no idea who added them--an eager-beaver copy editor? Who knows? There are plenty of cooks working on this soup. I try to have the "not mine's" struck out.
So next week, I'll be re-reading VEXING THE VISCOUNT for the last time before I fling it to the world. Wish me luck!