One year to write a book. Six months to revise a book. One weekend to review galleys. Time funnels faster as a publication date approaches, but the question about whether a character responds to a situation appropriately on page 52 is still worth pondering before committing to finality. If the scene didn’t read right in writers’ group last winter and you reworked the scene, and the editor questioned pacing last summer, the answer might be way outside my writer’s mind this January. For every one hundred pages that read like silk, there are those paragraphs that you wish you could hide. Unfortunately publishing a book is a bit like a beautiful woman who is obsessed with wearing her hair over unsightly large ears.
How to read galleys? First time read is big picture—where are the dramatic arcs, do characters remain consistent, will the ending satisfy readers. Next time (God forbid) the read is all about the details—commas, spellings, details. As a big picture person, the details bedevil me. Thankfully there was Lynn to pick up the missed details. I should trust her work, but now the galleys scream for re-examination of the minutia.
Time for a deep breath and enjoy the accomplishment of galleys waiting on your desk. This is what writing is all about. The book is real. It has a title (Harvesting Ashwood: Minnesota 2037) and a cover (thanks, Scott) and will have these pages if I finish proofing the galleys.