Sunday, January 27, 2013

Publishing in the 21st Century

Blimey. I don't think I've ever not blogged for a whole week! That's how busy I am. As I mentioned in the last post, I have the edits back from my very thorough editor, and let's just say if she wasn't such a nice person, I'd have fashioned a little voodoo doll by now. But it's all in the name of professionalism, I know. Can't have sloppy bullet points and inconsistent indentations.

When I published "Rules, Britannia" (see left margin), it was with a traditional publisher, who did things the old fashioned way. Nothing, other than a few e-mails, was sent electronically. The edits were sent on "galleys" - which were over-sized pieces of paper on which the editor hand-wrote corrections and questions, and I was required to hand-write my agreements or additional comments. According to Wiki, -

"Galley proofs are so named because in the days of hand-set type, the printer would set the page into galleys, the metal trays into which type was laid and tightened into place. These would be used to print a limited number of copies for editing mark-up. The printer would then receive the edits, re-arrange the type, and print the final copy."

It did occur to me more than once, that if I had spilt coffee on them or they'd been lost in the mail, I would have been slightly up the creek without a paddle.

These days, I'm doing all the preliminary stuff via electronic documents, and the biggest challenge I can see, is going to be keeping track of the updates. Apparently we add our initials to the document name after adding comments, so that we always know how many iterations there are and who was the last person to comment. I am going to be extra diligent here, because as anyone who's done this will know, it's soul-destroying to be working away on a document and suddenly realize that it's not the most recent version of your work. This happened not six months ago and it was bloody mayhem trying to figure out what was redundant, what I had deleted and what should go in where. (Only myself to blame, I know.)

It's all very interesting though, and is certainly moving a lot quicker than the last time, where it could be months before any action was taken. 21st century publishing indeed!


  1. I've discovered it's quite liberating to leave the blogging for a while. If I don't have the urge to sit and write then I tell myself people would far rather wait until I have got something to say.
    I'm finding my mind is taken up with line-learning at the moment so can't even focus on reading a book.

    I once did a proof-reading course and haven't done anything with it! Sounds like it's all changed now anyway.

  2. I can't even imagine having to commit stuff to memory. I don't think I'd be able to function let alone blog!

  3. I worked for several years as a copy editor, and eventually came to loathe and despise the 'edit' setting in Word, although I imagine it's much easier than hand-writing everything. Good luck -we'll be here when you get back!

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  5. I'm with Trish, it is quite liberating not blogging when one doesn't have time or anything to say. I went for a month over Christmas without blogging and am slowly getting back into it. Not with such a good excuse as yours though!

    It's really interesting to hear about the updates on your non-blog writing!

  6. If you really need that voodoo doll, I have one that fellow blogger Daryl (NY) once sent me, hang in there!

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