Hidey-Ho Scribblers ~ J Monkeys here. I recently blogged about finishing one of my WIPs. You can read that post here. It was an exciting thing. I may have overstated things when I said I finished it. My next book is a departure for me, a non-fiction work call DIY Publishing ~ Cheap & Easy. Back when I wrote that post (all of 3 weeks ago) I had finished several steps in the journey to a final draft: I wrote the book, proofed the book, had the book edited by someone else, got input from a beta reader and modified the manuscript to incorporate the editor/beta reader’s thought and fought my way through formatting the book for print.
Then I ordered my proof copy and patted myself on the back for finishing it. But it wasn’t really done. No, no. My proof copy arrived in the mail a week or so ago. I sat down and over the course of several day, I read every word, evaluated every page and marked that copy up like a college student cramming for a test.
Today I finished inputting my changes and created version 4 of my DIY Publishing ~ Cheap & Easy manuscript. Moments ago, I placed an order for proof copy #2. When you Indie Publish the proof copy replaces the galleys, blues and ARCs of the old publishing world. I have learned to love the proof. Just because you think your work is finalized doesn’t mean that it really is…
I’ll give you an example. My editor noticed that I had some trouble with the style of quotes, apostrophes and dashes in my text. In some cases the text had smart quotes, and in other cases there were…well, I’m sure they aren’t called dumb quotes, but I don’t know what to call them. Straight quotes maybe. You know what I mean, right? I use MS Word and sometimes (like when Smart Quotes is turned on) the quotation marks look nice and round with a circle dohickey and a point going in opposite directions. And other times they look like this: “.
I had the same problem with dashes. Sometimes I had em-dashes and sometimes I didn’t. Em dashes are those longer dashes that appear in Word when you put a space around the dash and then a space at the end of the word after the dash. Word changes the dash to an em dash automatically, when you have it turned on through Autocorrect. Well, I had to straighten this out. It may not matter which type of quote or dash you use, but for sure you want to be consistent!
I dutifully went through my manuscript and fixed all of the quotes, apostrophes and dashes before I set up my proof copy. Or so I thought. Do you have any idea how many contractions I used in a hundred pages? Lots. And 80% of them we ugly straight apostrophes. Well, I circled ever blasted one of them in my proof. I fixed the over the last couple of days – an annoying little project, I can tell you!
So now I wait, impatiently, for proof copy # 2 to arrive. I expect it will look a lot cleaner than proof 1 and I hope that the changes I have to make will be so minor that I won’t need to wait for proof copy # 3 before I can say that I’m REALLY done with the book.
Stay tuned – I’m expecting to be able to release DIY Publishing ~ Cheap & Easy in early November.
Today’s Secret: Sometimes getting a proof copy can be just the thing you need to put a little juice into your excitement level for a project. If you are feeling down about your work, create a proof copy on Createspace.com and take a look at your work in a fresh way. They don’t cost very much – usually less than $5.00.
Today’s Question: How many drafts does it take you reach perfection – or at least as close as you are likely to get?