The Dreaded First Edit: Part 1

On January 27, 2017, I entered into an “Agreement Between Publisher and Author . . . Whereas the Parties are desirous respectively of publishing a work provisionally entitled The Precariousness of Done (the “Work”), which title may be changed only by mutual consent.”

The agreement is 24 pages long.

Page 24 contains a “TENTATIVE PUBLISHING SCHEDULE,” which “depends on the extent of editorial revisions/corrections, and publisher’s, author’s and printer’s schedules. The following dates are based on a publishing agreement finalized by February 5, 2017:

First Edited Proof: March/April 2017
Final Edited Proof: March/April 2017
1st Interior Design Proof: April/May 2017
Final Interior Design Proof: May/June 2017
First Cover Versions: June/July 2017
Final Cover Proof: June/July 2017
Book to Press: July/August 2017
Printer’s Proofs: July/August 2017
Books Shipped: July/August 2017
Limited Release: July/August 2017
Public Release: Fall 2017

(Limited release is the date copies of your book are available to you, as well as available for preorder from [name omitted], amazon.com and bn.com. Public release is the date your book ships and is available for order from brick and mortar chain stores. Public release is generally scheduled two to three months after copies are received because it takes a number of weeks for your book to be reviewed by Barnes and Noble and other buyers, and additional time for your book to appear in buyer databases.)”

The first task to be completed on that tentative schedule began simply, with this email from my publisher:

“March 23, 2017

Dear Tony:

I am attaching the 1st EDITED PROOF of Precariousness for your review. We have edited the manuscript for grammar, mechanics, usage, and general content. We have used Microsoft Word Track Changes feature for this edit. In case you are unfamiliar with this feature, I have attached instructions on how to use it. Please note that we have not included the “clean” file mentioned in the instructions, but I’ll be happy to send one if you prefer. Some authors who aren’t familiar with tracking find the clean file easier to work with. Just let me know.

It is important that you read the instructions about the Track Changes feature before you begin responding to the edit.

Do not be concerned with spacing between paragraphs or other formatting elements at this stage. We will address formatting, indentation, margins, and other design elements at the design stage.

SPECIAL NOTES: None at this time.

IT IS CRITICAL that you work with the attached file in Microsoft Word, not with your original manuscript file or any other file. If you work with a previous or another file, we will have to edit the manuscript from scratch, and there may be delays and more production costs.

When your review is complete, please email the proof to me at your earliest convenience. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call me at [phone number omitted]. Thank you!

Very truly yours,

[name omitted].”

When I opened the attached file, simple flew out the window and then straight to hell: Microsoft Word Track Changes feature is a visual nightmare for this severe obsessive-compulsive author–changing, checking, rechecking, re-rechecking. Accepting or rejecting my editor’s changes are another matter, for another post.

The instructions about the Track Changes feature got me started; the suggestions from those who have used it–thank you Adam and Noah–let me chew through the edit and make peace with it. An uneasy truce: other proofs (scary, final ones) will be coming.

If you’re a writer who is starting the process I am well into, and you need help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

If you’re an obsessive-compulsive who is struggling every day as I am, I’m here for you, too.

One thought on “The Dreaded First Edit: Part 1

  1. Linda Waker May 2, 2017 / 1:50 pm

    I wish you great success!

    Like

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