Wednesday, March 29, 2017

They're Still Called Galley Proofs

If the term is unfamiliar, a galley proof is the first draft of a book put together by a publisher.  Galleys are sent back to the author or editor to permit them an idea of what the pages of the finished book will more or less look like.  Galleys are reviewed, appraised, corrected, or completely trashed, depending on what the author/editor sees, and then returned.  Sometimes, if the changes are extensive, a second set of galleys is prepared for review.  Publishers don't like to do this, as it requires twice as much work from the editors and, even though galleys are nowadays electronic rather than printers' proofs, it also requires more work on the part of the clerical staff.

In other words, publishers are exasperated by me.

You see, the submission draft of the book was finished and sent to the publisher in early October, just before my season in Fiji and Australia.  I received the galleys yesterday, five months later.  After such an interim, when I re-read what I wrote, I am sometimes a little surprised at my occasional eloquence [and absence of humility] and more than often appalled at some ham-handed sentences.  This means I re-write things.  A lot.

I'm also obsessive about triple-checking the work done by the publisher, which also delays the process. In my defense, my first publisher, an Ivy League university press, accidentally sent for publication the rough draft rather than the finished copy.  That's also the copy that was sent to reviewers.  It still gives me a migraine when I contemplate some of the grammatical errors that were in the uncorrected version, as does the memory of the editor's secretary's rictus smile when she told me of her foul-up.

Now, since I have a visit by the bishop this Sunday, followed almost immediately by Holy Week, I'm not going to have the time to give justice to the galleys.  They will sit on my desk, waiting, like the Sword of Damocles, reminding me that I have even more work to do on this wretched voluntary chore.  I'm getting too old for this.

So, for those wondering, the book is still forthcoming, after the clearance of the galleys, the selection of cover art and author photo [I dislike photos of myself, so this isn't easy, either], the actual printing and dissemination of the volumes to reviewers and bookstores, and, the part I like the best, the book tour.  I'm too much of a ham not to enjoy the latter.

So, stay tuned....