I got an email from my production editor at Waterbrook today, with the news that the typeset version of North! Or Be Eaten was finished today. Being the excellent person that she is, she put a copy in the mail to me before the day was over so I’ll have it in hand Monday.
When you turn in a manuscript for a book, there’s not much to it. You have this gigantic Word document on the computer that represents hours upon hours of work. You attach it to an email, take a deep breath, and click “Send”. The story zaps through the internet and is in the virtual hands of the publisher before you inhale. (It’s really, really amazing if you think about it.)
At that point, all the editing happens electronically. The editor sends me my book in an email with her changes highlighted, then I either accept or reject the fixes or make changes of my own, and I email it back. That happens a few times. Then last month I sent my drawings of maps and chorkneys and quill diggles (oh my!) in a big black portfolio folder to the art department. I don’t know exactly what the art folks do, but they scan the pictures and put them through their own kind of editing filter.
Then comes the typeset version, or (as far as I know) the “galley”. It’s printed on copy paper and bound like it would be if you took it to Kinko’s. But within the boundaries of the 8.5×11 paper you can see a grid that shows what the actual size of the pages will be. So it’s not the final book, but it gives you a good idea of what it will be. And that’s fun.
So Monday I’ll gleefully tear open a package and hold an almost-finished version of the book I spent a year writing. Then I’ll do a happy dance.