One of my editors kicked a manuscript back to me on paper a couple of weeks ago. I can’t remember the last time I did a paper edit, and even then, it was on my own. I’ve never had an editor send me an old-school, marked-up manuscript before.
I used to print manuscripts myself for editing all the time. I feel like I catch more errors that way, and I get a better idea of the flow of things. I would sit somewhere quiet, away from the computer, and go through the whole thing, then key the edits in later.
Lately, however, an editor would kick their corrections back to me using Track Changes in a word processor like Word or Pages, maybe leave some comments, and then I’d accept or reject, attach my own comments, and return the file. It’s not as hands-on or organic, but it does streamline the workflow and speeds up the process.
I don’t know that I have a preference anymore. There’s definitely some nostalgia in doing it on paper, and it was fun to dust off old skills like reading the proofreading marks and seeing typography notes. When it comes down to it, though, this is work, not hobby, and what the editor wants is what the editor gets. Some editors still want subs double spaced and in Courier font, and I will never argue. On the other hand, as fun and challenging as it might be to write something on a typewriter, I’m sure many editors wouldn’t touch it because of the work it would create for them.
The main reason my editor went this route is he’d already formatted the manuscript for print. This wasn’t a done deal, and he started off by fiddling around and playing with design work. Pretty soon it became the real thing, and it didn’t make much sense to send me a file that I may accidentally screw up his design work on. His final round of proofing would be that much more difficult, and it would delay release plans.
In the future, I’m sure we’ll be right back to our digital methods, and that’s just fine.
Writing “Draft Complete” at the end of this one was almost as satisfying as typing “THE END” at the end of the first draft. I still owe him some ancillary materials for the book, but in general it’s just about ready for print. I’m looking forward to it.
So what’s the project? Well, I can tell you it’s not Lie with the Dead, though that book is through the final round of editorial and is back in my hands for the final revisions. We just haven’t announced anything formal with this project yet.
But I did post a teaser a short time ago…