One fun aspect of being a first time novelist is learning
the internal publishing ropes. I’ve just passed a major milestone – the
copyedits of ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS are finished and have been turned in to my editor at
This was by far the most difficult step I’ve faced in the
process. It took me three days to go through all the notes, changing a word
here or there, striking a repeated sentence, double-checking tertiary character
names. It’s amazing what these copyeditors catch. You see so many readers on
the webthreads discussing errors in manuscripts, and I hate to be culpable for
any reader distress. You have to wonder, though, if they knew what went into
these pages, understood the process and the care taken by the publisher to make
the book error free and pretty, maybe they’d cut us a little slack.
The term STET, Latin for "To Let Stand," is now my best friend. Especially because
I’m writing a novel based in the South with some lesser-known southern
vernacular. Our colloquialisms seem strange to many outsiders, including
copyeditors from New York.
I’m at the point where I can no longer hold back. I’ve got
my cover. I’ve had it for a couple of months, and have been sitting on it
because . . . well, I don’t know why. Newbie terrors, the sense that you’re
going to wake up and find out all of this is a dream? It certainly feels that
I’m beyond thrilled with the art. My editor sent it to me
and I about passed out from sheer joy. It captured the essence of the book in a way
I could have never begun to suggest. It’s time to share. This book is
happening, and there’s no sense holding back any longer.
Without further ado . . .
I leave you with a thought that sums up the current
experience quite well.
My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends —
It gives a lovely light!
— First Fig, Edna St. Vincent Millay
Wine of the week: Vitiano Falesco