After the usual frenzy attendant upon my finishing a book, the fifth book of the Carsington trilogy (I know) is now in production. LAST NIGHT’S SCANDAL follows into adulthood Olivia and Peregrine, the two troublesome children of Book Four, LORD PERFECT.
The thing with a manuscript is, it keeps coming back, like the undead. We finish it—we think—and send it to our editors, who send it back for Revisions. Revisions can involve anything from tweaking a few lines here and there to massive rewrites of less-than-deathless (as in OMG, I can’t believe I wrote that crap) prose. Then we send it back again and a few weeks later, there it is on our doorstep, this time as a Copy Edit. The copy editor has gone through the manuscript looking for errors and inconsistencies. This phase usually requires our Gentle Author to scream quite a bit and bang her head against the wall in frustration. Then the manuscript goes back with a lot of Stets (for the uninitiated—and you’d do well to stay that way, like a virgin—that means “put it back the way I wrote it”).
Several weeks later, there it is again, on the doorstep. This time it’s Page Proofs. But nowadays, thanks to so much being done electronically, this phase is fairly painless and even enjoyable. We get to see the book the way it’ll look in print. All we have to do is check for printer’s errors or our own mistakes we somehow missed in the ten thousand times we went over the manuscript already.
I’m not at that phase yet, but I’ll be sure to make a big deal about it when it’s done, because then, really, the book is done. The next time I see it, it’ll have a cover and everything.
, that will happen at the end of July 2010. Since that’s a long way away, I’ll save talking about the book itself until we get closer to the date. But for now you have an idea why a book takes so long after I “finish” it to get to the bookstore.