To Fix or Not to Fix – Last Minute Publication Glitch

by admin on April 30, 2019

 I thought things were going too smoothly with my new novel publication – and I was right. All the proof reading was done at last and all the changes and edits were finished. The cover design had gone through several versions but ended being much better than I’d hoped.

And yesterday, Ali, my book editor sent me the final draft for approval before it went to the printers. We are on first name terms, my editor and I, although we’ve never met, except online.  Ali warned, this is it, absolutely no more changes at this stage. When I approve this galley proof, it’s in the printers’ hands.

In less than a week, she said, the printer will airmail me a bound copy of my novel for approval. Providing the printer has made no mistakes, that’s it. Over two years’ work will be ended. AMPLE MAKE THIS BED will be complete.

And so I sat down to pore through my manuscript for the umpteenth time, with fingers crossed. To no avail. At page 62 of the final galley proof, a loud wail went up, clearly audible across the street. I read it again. Another wail, louder than the first, followed by a string of profanities.

There it was, in ghastly isolation – half a line of meaningless text. No relation to what went before or after it. A tag end of some sentence left behind from my last edit. How had I missed it? And what could I do about it?

I re-read the last email from Ali – the one with the warning. Any changes now meant re-formatting and re-formatting meant stiff additional charges. To delete that half line would cost me over a hundred dollars. American dollars. More weeping and swearing and then a decision. Leave it. Ignore it. To hell with it.

But almost immediately I knew I couldn’t. I imagined you, my reader, engrossed in the story, stumbling over this lump of meaningless words. What’s this? Reading it, poring over it, trying to make sense of it, completely forgetting where you were in the plot. Stymied by this enigmatic little phrase. What does it mean – some kind of private joke?

Irritated by now, annoyed even, you try to carry on reading but it’s no use. Your train of thought has been de-railed. You keep coming back to puzzle over that  little half line of text. You flip to the back cover blurb, hoping for some clue. Nothing. Disgruntled, you close the book and decide to take the dog for a walk.

No, there is nothing for it. I shall just have to pay the hundred American dollars ….Unless. Ali. Maybe if I wrote her a wheedling email – it’s only deleting half a line, she might relent. After all, editors are human, they must make mistakes, too. But already I can see her shaking her head.

Ah well. We writers must suffer for our art. It is, as Nietsche said of God, our job.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

janie morris April 30, 2019 at 12:12 am

If this is true……Poor You!

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