Tuesday, July 23, 2013

First Pass Pages

It’s been a dog eat everything week here at the Hautman-Logue-Gaston residence, and not a lot of work getting done. Mostly we have trying to convince the puppy to chew on things we want chewed, and to perform his evacuations outside. 
But I did finish reviewing the first pass pages of The Klaatu Terminus and making about a hundred small corrections.
“Pass pages” are the stage just after copyediting, when the copyedits have been incorporated into the manuscript, and the work is set in the font and layout that will appear in the final book. They look like this:
This page has one correction, of a typical pass page typo.
When I first went through the publishing process I was amazed by how many rounds of edits, corrections, and proofs are necessary to produce a professionally published novel. The first edition will probably have been combed through by no fewer than six readers, multiple times. And still, there will be mistakes. There are always mistakes. The first edition of my novel Rash, for example, contained a spelling error in the first sentence.
First pass pages are a critical stage for the author, because usually this is the last time he or she will have any significant input into the content of a book before it goes out for review. After that, the book will go through one (or two, or three) more sets of pass pages, and then into ARCs, or “Advance Reviewer Copies.” These are the bound, paperback copies that will go out to Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, and other industry publications for pre-publication reviews.
ARCs often contain errors that will be corrected in the actual book, but it is fervently hoped that such errors will be minor, because the pre-pub reviewers will be judging the book on the basis of the ARC.

Anyway, I am glad to be done with these first pass pages, and I’ll be taking them to the post office this afternoon. I think. It always feels a bit like stepping out of an airplane and hoping the parachute opens. Maybe I’ll give the manuscript another read-through. I’m sure I missed some stuff.                         

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