Friday, November 16, 2012

Writing: Galley Proofs

Books don't spring from the mind of an author full-blown and ready for publication. Far from it. There are drafts, revisions, the macro or substantive edit, the line edit, and finally, when the book is ready to be printed, the author and one or more proofreaders read through the material, now called a "galley proof," to pick up errors and do final fine-tuning.

I've just completed going over the galleys of my next book, Stress Test, and I'm amazed there were still things I and the editors who've read the previous versions let slip through. Then again, this is why there are so many layers of editing involved in the process. My edits of the galley proof ranged from removing stray punctuation marks to cleaning up wording to--in one case--a slight change in the job description of a minor character. But it's done.

Meanwhile, I've sent my editor at Thomas Nelson Co. the manuscript for the book that follows Stress Test. Heart Failure won't be published for about a year, but I have to stay ahead. While I wait for those edits to begin, I've  started to outline Critical Condition. The fun never stops, does it?

Do you have a question about writing? I'd love to hear it, and promise to answer to the best of my ability.

(photo via


Carol Garvin said...

I tend to be a one-story-at-a-time writer, immersing myself totally in the characters, their story and the setting, so I wonder how easy you find it to work on different levels of multiple books at one time. Can you readily shift your focus back and forth from one book to another as editorial notes require your attention?

Richard Mabry said...

Carol, great question. No, it's not easy, and I sometimes have trouble doing it. I met with my publisher's fiction team earlier this week, and they asked about the story arc of the novel I'd just finished. I had to take a minute to figure out whether the male protagonist's brother was a missionary or a US marshall in that one. Then again, I guess it's a good problem.

S. Kim Henson said...

On average, how much time do you spend on your book writing? Is it a daily job? I've written lots of articles, but I'm just now venturing into writing a book so I'm curious what's ahead.

Richard Mabry said...

Kim, Great question. Let me answer that one next Friday, in the next post about writing. At that time I'll talk about the various approaches writers take in this regard, and tell you a bit about how I do it.
Thanks so much.