Yesterday, without warning, a HUGE cardboard box arrived on the porch, courtesy of the FedEx man (who has not been warned about the existence of the omnivorous beagle). Yes, the copy-edited manuscript has arrived.
I am supposed to go through it, check all the red-pencilled changes to make sure that I agree with them, and answer all the copy editor’s queries.

This means that I now have spread on my desk the 800-page manuscript, a stack of endnotes, another of footnotes, the Works Cited, a stack of timelines, a stack of maps, a Table of Contents, a list of map captions, and a list of illustration captions. I’m supposed to make sure that all of these are in complete agreement. No small job, as you can see:

Here’s a typical page with the copy editor’s marks (quite a few of those are intended for the design team, not for me) and queries.

All of the yellow flags, I regret to say, are questions that I need to answer.

For example: Are these quote marks necessary? Elsewhere you say that this date is 567, but here you use 567–which is correct? You refer to “The Tale of Enkidu” and “The Coming of Enkidu”–which is the correct title? There is no page number for this reference–what should it be? The endnotes in the text skip from 7.2 to 7.4–should there be a 7.3, or should we renumber?

And multiply this times 800 pages.

I have until May 15 to get this back, which is very tight indeed. However, I am now installed in the Chicken Shed Office! So I have room to spread out, and when I need to look up a reference, I can simply get up and pick the book off a shelf (as opposed to digging it out from a stack on the floor). Here’s one of the back corners:

and one of the front corners:

and the view out my door.

This morning, after I supervised breakfast and chores, my mother asked if she could have the children to help plant tomatoes. So they all stormed off to the garden and I went down to tackle a few more copy-editor queries. I think they’re having more fun than I am. (They disagree, by the way.)

Showing 7 comments
  • Sherri-Ann

    Oh my, that task sounds extremely daunting, but I have faith in you that it will get done. By the way I love the Chicken Shed Office, it looks amazing. That door way is so beautiful, the transom is gorgeous.

  • Laura in PA

    I love the new office! I am still digging through piles of books on the floor, so I am just jealous that you have bookshelves and places to put them ( and a finished book, and an agent and a publisher and a contract… but I digress). Can’t wait to read the book. Blessings to you!

  • PariSarah

    Wow. . . those markings and post-its are making *me* hyperventilate, and it’s not even my book.
    Beautiful office! (I hope it’s beautiful enough to keep you from hyperventilating.)

  • Lynn in WI

    Love the office. Love the color. 🙂

  • Jessica

    It looks daunting, but doesn’t it feel good to be at this stage? I used to be one of those design people! I don’t know which is worse, formatting or answering edit questions. I’d think formatting because then design has to input your edit questions.

  • Dy

    Oh, my! This was like getting a sneak peek at Christmas (Will the book be out in time to find its way under my tree this year? I can’t remember. Have I truly been good enough this year? Is there time to rectify that?)

    LOVE the Chicken Shed Office. Will you hire out your crew? 😉 I’ve got one room left and then my bookshelves can be brought out of quarantine – it has to feel so good to have a better space for your work! Yay!


  • Sherrill

    So you went with the yellow for your office! Looks great. A nice light, cheery shade. I’m so glad your office was ready in time for the querying stage. Here’s hoping the new environment makes the task a bit cheerier. As one of the “queriers,” I can sympathize. We queriers hate how many sticky notes we have to leave, too! We cringe and think the author is going to want to kill us! ; )


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