Monday, September 3, 2012

College and Copyedits

Two big events have been happening simultaneously in my life: first my only son went away to college, and secondly my debut novel, THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL, will launch this fall.

I finished my content edits in March of this year. I had no clue when to expect copyedits, but since I'm a big believer in Murphy's Law, I figured it wouldn't be at a convenient time. Sure enough copyedits arrived when I was knee deep in college preparations, exactly one week before we were set to depart for American University.

I pushed all boxes, suitcases, and piles of stuff to the side, lived in my pajamas for two full days, and turned those copyedits around. Then I spent the weekend reading my manuscript aloud to be sure I was happy with the changes.

Afterward, my novel was turned over to Helen Robinson for typesetting and design. I can't wait to see the cover. Check back because I'll reveal it first on this blog.

As for Alex, he seems to be adjusting well to life at AU. My novel is dedicated to him, but that will be the subject of another post.

For those of you who haven't been through the copyediting phase, leave a question and I'll try to answer it. For readers who have already been published, I hope you'll share your copyediting experiences below.


  1. Oh, one child leaves, and ‘another one’ is on the way… I look forward to your cover reveal. I was so happy (and frankly, relieved) when I first saw mine. There are so many possibilities, and I, like many expected mothers, worried and imagined some of the not so good ones… I kept saying to the universal wishing-well, “please make it tasteful.”
    I know your book is in able hands, so don’t worry, and let us see it too. We’ll celebrate with you.
    About copy edits- once you hold the printed book in your hand, this phase is forgotten. Until the next book.

  2. The whole publishing process does have much in common with expecting a baby.

    Like you, I have my fingers crossed that I'll fall in love with my cover.

  3. Cannot wait to see the cover!

    You know I loved working with Katya. My favorite Katya story is one where I accused her of changing meowed to mewed, saying I would not use that word. I was sure I hadn't but she argued her case by pointing me to my own comment in the marked up version of the manuscript.

    And sure enough, I'd used mewed in the first place and she'd simply changed it back to my original which really was better. This was a case, I think, of me forgetting that my character speaks differently than I do!

    Katya knows how to give and take as needed and she saved me hours of headaches and tears by sorting out crucial info regarding the Hawaiian language.

    Oh, and she saved me from naming my lovely Hawaiian Christian woman a name that means prostitute! That's kind of big, don't you think?

  4. Looks like you are in great hands with Helen Robinson -- beautiful covers on her site! Can't wait to see yours!

  5. Oh would not have been good to name a Christian woman a word that means prostitute!

    I found Katya to be a real love. She vastly improved my first page just by adding a few words that really clarified the mood.

  6. Thanks, Diana. I was already familiar with Helen's work so knew I would be in good hands regarding design!

  7. Hey Shannon, I feel like you and I are on a parallel journey! My copyedits are due this week and just dropped MY son off at college last week too! Exciting and sort of overwhelming all at once.

  8. Jody, We do seem to be on similar paths. I hope your son is enjoying college so far, and that your copyedits go as smoothly as mine did!

  9. Edits were hard on my eyes, but that period seemed to go by fast.

    I can't wait to see the cover.

  10. Me too! I think cover reveals are one of the best parts of the writing journey.