A few days ago, Chicken House sent me the typeset pages of my new book. This is such an exciting moment because it’s the first time I get to see all the fancy doo-dahs that the publisher adds, all the front matter, the chapter headings and the words on the page just like in a real live book. It’s also the moment that makes me remember ‘oh my gosh, this is really happening!’
I got two great surprises when I looked at the pages:
First; Alice rides her bike all over Philadelphia while she’s chasing down leads, so I was thrilled that there was a picture of a bicycle on the first page.
Second; I had no idea Barry Cunningham, the Managing Director, Publisher and kid-lit genius, would write a little blurb on the inside. Wow, so exciting! I posted this on Facebook.
But what’s this? In the blurb, oh my, is that a typo? (I’ve had quite a few eagle-eyed readers point this out.)
Yes, yes it is.
These typeset pages are called uncorrected proofs (sometimes page proofs, sometimes galley proofs). They are one last chance for the author (and a proofreader, thank goodness) to fix any mistakes before the book goes to print. This is not the time to rewrite chunks of dialogue or description since the typesetter has spent a lot of time fitting just the right number of words onto each page. But there is space to change anything small or obviously wrong.
And so for the next few days I’ll be rereading my work, looking for misspellings and other mistakes, red pen at the ready, jellybeans by my side. And then it’s back to finishing the next Alice Jones adventure.