Usually by this point, I totally do.
By the time I get to proofing the galleys, I've read the stupid story dozens upon dozens of times, revised it until my fingertips are raw (okay, not really, but you get the idea), I can recite it in my sleep, I and want to set a match to the thing then watch it go up in a blazing bonfire of papery glory while I cackle.
This time is different. It could be because I submitted the manuscript well over a year ago and that the rewrites were done when the snow was still on the ground early last spring. And that the only edit in the fall was really light. I haven't gone over it a hundred zillion times. (Just a million times. Makes quite a difference.)
It's been long enough since I saw it last that I've come across a few paragraphs I don't remember writing . . . and kinda liking them. At this point, however, I'm still too close to be totally objective. This is the place where I wonder if the story or the writing are any good, if this book is better or worse than my last one, and so on. I guess only time will tell.
This is also the point where I get intensely paranoid that I'll miss a typo or grammar error. Inevitably, I probably will, but I can't live with that reality. See, a good proofer will catch about 80% of mistakes, which is why publishers generally have several proofers go over a single book (then you all hope that the 20% each person missed is covered by someone else's 80%).
In the end, I have to take a deep breath and let go. (A tall order for the Grammar Nazi, I tell you.)
It's tough especially because it's my name on the cover. Any mistakes or stupidity found therein will be attributed to me . . . even though copy editors and disk changers often insert mistakes the author never wrote.
In the final proof for Spires, for example, I found a lay/lie error. I about had a coronary. I don't know which copy editor put it in, but I wanted to find out and cause bodily harm. (You don't do that on the Grammar Nazi's watch. No, you don't!) And yes, I checked my original manuscript. It wasn't in there. Someone had revamped what I admit was an awkward sentence but inserted "laid" into it, when they meant "lay." Grrrr.
There are some things in this proof I'm cringing at, wishing I could rephrase or whatever, but it's too late for that at this point. Frankly, there's always something you could change or tweak, and it's a good thing your publisher just tells you that the book is going to press, because then you simply can't obsess anymore.
I was even stressing over a moment where some characters eat "fresh peach pie." Oh, no! Will my readers know that I mean that the pie is fresh, not the peaches? Because I know that May is way too early in the season for fresh peaches. The peaches in the pie are bottled. But I don't say so. Should I have? Will someone think I'm a dork because I supposedly had characters eating fresh peaches in the spring? Oh, well, too late. We're looking for proofing errors only at this point.
I'm not quite done with the proof (Kirk, I swear I'll turn it in today like I promised! I think. Most likely. No, I will. I've never missed a deadline yet, and I won't miss this one, either), but I must say, this is the least painful proof I've ever done.
[This is where you insert the "Hallelujah Chorus."]
As for an update on the book: The official release date for Tower of Strength (sixth book, fourth old-Utah temple novel, set in Manti) is still pending. It may be March, it may be April.
With any luck, I'll know a real date very soon. And you can bet your bobbie socks that I'll announce it here.
I'm planning some fun bloggy stuff for the release, including some giveaways right here. Stay tuned for that. I love winning things on blogs, and giving things away is even more fun!
If you have a product or business you'd like to promote (or know someone who does) e-mail me, and I'll set up a slot for you during my week of giveaways (coming in a springtime near you . . .).
Also, if you're willing to host a stop on my upcoming bloggy book tour, drop me a line, and I'll get you all the info on what that entails. (Some of you I'll likely stalk and beg and plead for you to host me. Just giving fair warning.)
I've got some fun things planned, and I'm actually more excited for this release than I've been for some of my others. Plus, the cover should be done in a couple weeks, which is always a momentous occasion, since it's the "wrapper" that the book will from henceforth be connected to. I'll be sure to post it so you can all bask in its loveliness with me.
Most of all, for this moment, I love the fact that I don't hate the book.
Yet. Here's hoping the urge to strike a match doesn't creep up on me after all.
UPDATE: Firsts and Lasts is now live as an ebook, and it'll soon be available in paperback as wel! Get the ebook HERE . I've got s...
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