Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Long Call

Today I'll address a question raised by a blog comment from Teenage Librarian about the revision process. Yesterday I mentioned a phone call with my publisher, and TR asked if I normally did stuff over the phone. The answer is no. At this stage in revision, where I have my manuscript back from the copy-editor and it's covered in red marks telling me I need to go back to school for punctuation lessons, I usually type up an email to my editor with all of the little changes that need to be made. However, with my last book (Don't Stop Now), I felt rushed before the advanced reader copy (the copy sent out to reviewers) came out, and I didn't get in the changes I would have liked. This time around I decided I needed to take the time and read through every word of the book again, not just the copy-editor's marks, before it went to print for the ARCs. Maybe I've just been lazy in the past or haven't had time or thought I read the manuscript enough with all of my previous revisions, but Have a Nice Day (the current revision and sequel to Get Well Soon) only went through TWO revisions with my editor. That's how awesome I am. Um, yeah. But because of that, I didn't have that feeling where I knew every page and line and joke. This time, I needed another big read-through. For which my publisher gave me one week :) And the book is 362 pages (like, full typed pages. It will be even more when it turns into real book format). So not only did I have a sick kid and a trip to South Carolina, but I had to read through and tweak 362 pages last week. [I would just like to note that all 362 pages just fell off my desk. Assholes.] There were many tiny changes and just a few bigger changes, but there was no way I was also going to have the time to type an email to my editor with said changes. If I were to do that, it would look something like this:
On page 4, third paragraph, second line, cross out "no CDs" and replace with "no computers."

To do that with every single change would take me seventeen thousand years. So this time around I called the delightful Anna Roberto, Editorial Assistant at Feiwel and Friends, and for TWO HOURS AND FORTY-SEVEN minutes we went page by page together. Strangely, it was really fun (except for the sleeping butt I acquired). I am not one to show my work to many people until it's completed, so the only people who have read Have a Nice Day are my editor, my agent, Anna, and the art director, Rich Deas. Yet, I don't really know which parts people think are good or funny. Being on the phone with Anna, I heard her laugh at certain passages or received a nice word about a sentence here and there. It was great to have that feedback. Sometimes I write things that I think are hilarious, but I never know if anyone else is laughing along with me. Anna and I laughed quite a bit.

Speaking of laughs, it was hilarious to have to say things to Anna like, "On the top of page 127, can you change 'such shit' to 'a hairy anus'?" Ha! Man, if I can't say it aloud, though, I shouldn't be able to write it.

Something else you may find interesting about the copy-editing process is that there are the correct ways of doing things, and then there are the ways I'd rather do them. For instance, I do not like capitalization of letters in the middle of a sentence. So with words like t-shirt and email and v-neck, while they are supposed to be capitalized, I chose to have them lowercase. I just think it looks better. There were a bunch of deliberate incorrect changes I made, so hopefully people don't think either a) I'm an idiot or b) inaccuracies were not caught. Only time will tell. I can't wait until the book comes out! I think it's really good! Am I allowed to say that?

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