I'm Not Totally Hating It

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.

(Dumb economy.)

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.


Luisa Perkins said…
I'm singing 'Hallelujah' right along with you--that's so excellent.

No! NO matches, pretty please!

I totally cracked up over this post, because your fresh peach pie quandary is exactly the kind of thing that causes me to obsess ad infinitum.

Could you save a spot in your promotion week for my cookbook? It should be out soon!

I would gladly be a stop on your book tour, even though I'm reasonably sure that all 12 of my readers are already fans of yours.
Can I read the first chapter?

Larsens said…
I can't wait to read about the Manti temple. I'm anxiously waiting for the release.
Yay for the less painful editing session! That's the part that's got to be the most difficult. I can totally see why you can get paranoid when you've read it a zillion times. That's enough to drive anyone batty!

If I heard fresh peach pie, I would assume that that the pie is fresh. So don't worry! I'm sure most people would think so too.
wonder woman said…
I echo Alyson -- I hear that the pie is fresh, not necessarily the peaches.

I'd love to host a bloggy book thing!
Kimberly said…
Can't wait to read it!
I think you should have done a pecan pie. Its a pie for all seasons. Its got staying power in those warmer-than-sual 1897 springs south of Provo and nuts are good for you.
I love to hear other writers (see how I just put us in the same class *snort*) hate their books because I know I've been there and I've never gotten anywhere near where you are.
Kristina P. said…
This was such an interesting post!

And I'm excited to read the new book.
I can't wait to read it. My girls love your temple series. I'd also love to be part of your blog tour.
Becky said…
Sounds like it is getting close and exciting. I'm up for fresh peach pie, now that you mention it! Or even just cobbler...
Erin said…
Ooh, I'm so excited! The next few months are going to be really fun for you!
Heidi Ashworth said…
To me it meant "fresh pie of the peach variety". Those who are too clueless to know what you meant won't know that peaches aren't fresh in May (or so I expect). I totally hear you about HATING it after that zillionth time of reading it. That's why, when I got the galleys, I was so surprised that I didn't hate it anymore. It had only been a month since my last batch of revisions. Lastly, some cocky editor edited out my french phrases and changed parti to party (that was just one example). Boy was I upset! I got them all fixed, thank goodness! (at least, I think so. I haven't read the final product yet--scared to).
Josi said…
See, fresh peach pie to me means pie made with fresh peaches--and I'd catch the may thing. Can you change fresh to warm? :-) and then she can laid it on the table. Just trying to make your eye twitch.

I'm glad you don't need any matches, that makes the process far less painful.

The word verification is fliphell--someone wants to burn somethin :-)
::Jan:: said…
It is interesting to hear what the authors stress over. I only thought of the pie being fresh instead of the peaches. Now I want pie though. :)

I am so very excited about what is to come for you. It sounds so fun and I am very excited for you. Good luck and no worries. It will be great.
Lara said…
Yay for seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

I think this part of the process would kill me off. You are a strong lady! I'm glad it's been easier on you this time...maybe you can figure out what the trick is so it's this easy every time. Even though it really isn't easy.
Brooke said…
Here's to not hating it! I find grammatical errors in books that I read and think "they should really have me proof read that for them". Arrogant, I know. I caught a error in a book the other day that used the plural "women" when they were talking about one "woman". SEVERAL TIMES. It is good to know that it is not always the author's fault. I will never blame the author again. I hope this doesn't come off sounding snobby, because I mean it all in humor. Have a good day!
the letter Bee said…
That is so exciting! I can't wait to read it!

I would love to donate one of my books for your giveaway if you'd like.
Rebecca said…

I won't hold a couple of errors against you. I always figure that the author will probably miss something since they're so engrossed in the story. I blame the proofreaders for not catching it!
Heffalump said…
I would love to be a stop on your tour, if you don't mind that I only have about ten regular commenters and probably that many lurkers on my blog...
I'm excited to read your book when it comes out too!
Sue said…
Congratulations Annette - that's fantastic. Knowing how hard it is to complete a manuscript, I'm in absolute awe that you've completed (and PUBLISHED) six. Truly amazing. You're an inspiration.
Cynthia said…
We are always our worst critics. Deadlines are actually a blessing in a situation like this because they force you to accept that which may be imperfect as being good enough.

Honestly, I think that's why I push my design work off to the last minute so frequently. So often there isn't one definitively 'right' answer or way to do something. Without the time constraint, I'll go over and over and over it- spinning my wheels.

I'm glad that you are satisfied with the final product. A book is a labor of love, that's for sure. Good luck with it!
LisAway said…
This is so interesting to read! I'm so glad you are satisfied with the book. And I'm sorry about the pie thing. I agree with Heidi's comment about it. Mostly I love that you shared your stress over it. :)

This is exciting. I love that you can sort of take us all along with you on your publishing journey! Thanks!
I love hearing a writer go through 'the process' - it makes me enjoy the book that much more.

Ya think they'd ship out here?
I love it that you feel good about it (so far)

I can't imagine what a crazy person I would become in proofing. I would look at things so long that they would start to look wrong even if they aren't.

You're a writing rock star! :)
Sandra said…
Yay, Annette. I would love to host a stop on your blog tour (contact me about giveaway product).

And David, Pecan pies have too much sugar. Peaches are good for you as well.
Wow! Congratulations! How exciting! I can't wait to get to that point! I can't wait to read it!
Julie Wright said…
That is so dang cool! By the time I get my galleys it will have been three years since I wrote the manuscript. I hope I won't hate mine either. I wouldn't worry over the peaches. I think you said it just fine! Congratulations my friend.
Mina said…
I am no grammar nazi, but I am a little bit of a grammar snob. There are certain types of mistakes that grate on my nerves. However, I can NEVER remember the lay/lie thing. I always have to go look it up in my old copy of Strunk and White. Every time.

I am sorry to say that the word fresh qualifying a fruit pie will always, in my mind, describe the fruit itself. But I see what you had in mind. Maybe to can add a disclaimer in an introduction ;-)

I'm glad this book is going a little easier for you than most. I need to read one of your books, huh?
Annette Lyon said…
For David and anyone else wanting to read the first bit of the book, I will be putting the prologue and first chapter up for download on my website in the near future. Stay tuned!
Lyon Pride said…
I'm so excited to read it! I have some young women in my ward that are aspiring writers. If you guys ever take a trip out here, I would love to have you come talk to them.
I totally get the part about having edited the dang thing so many times you hate it--and my editor still hasn't sent back his/her edits yet. *sigh*

I'd love to be a stop on your blog tour and totally wish I had something to donate as a prize, but alas, my first book is going to be a month or two behind yours.
Annette Lyon said…
Thanks, Heather! I'll put you down. Congrats on your own upcoming release! Yay!
An Ordinary Mom said…
I can't wait to read it!
Karlene said…
Chocolate pie. I always go with chocolate. It's safe.

I'd love to do a perfume for your book. I'll email you about it.

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