For many writers, the wheels of publishing tend to turn more slowly than the wheels of justice. I know of picture book authorswriters whose projects hit the shelves close to five years after being accepted by the editor. (Note: Editors and art directors do their best to hook just the right illustrator for a project. Often that person has a pile of work to complete before taking on the new project.) YA and middle grade novels are speedy by comparison. It often takes a midlist book eighteen to twenty-four months to come out since they need to be scheduled, revised and edited. Publishers often work to balanace their lists.
But at a certain point, things seem to happen with lightning speed. Last night, I received a request for the dedication and author’s bio. I turned those in this morning. I’m guessing that within a few weeks that my last draft will be returned to me in a special format with my editor’s comments. I’ll make those final corrections and then send it back. Everything has to be next to perfect before going to the copy editors to be “type-set”. Of course, no one sets type anymore, but copy editors work line by line to get those even left and right margins that we’re all accustomed to seeing in our books. Once the copy editor works her magic, she’ll send the pages back to my editor and me. We’ll both have one last chance to catch mistakes. At this point, it should only be a typo here or there.
Often we’re up against what my editor calls “tight skeds.” My editor dumps chapters into my inbox. I immediately read them out loud, make corrections and send them back. It isn’t quite as stressful as working on the delivery of Peter Jackson’s LORD OF THE RINGS movies–the extended editions show just how crazed a process that was–but it’s still intense.
I’m ready to roll.