Monday, April 28, 2008
Copy Edit Purgatory
For the last few weeks I have been ensconced in my office, furiously making corrections to my manuscript. I have been in copy editing purgatory, that never-never land between a mess and a finished book.
I now appreciate the merits of a copy editor. I thought I had turned in a fairly clean manuscript, but my copy editor caught dozens of mistakes. I would spell a company's name one way on one page and another way fifty pages later. And he caught those discrepancies.
Those errors were easy to correct. What was excruciating was fixing my footnotes. I have been researching the life of Isaias Hellman for eight years now and have gotten information from a half dozen libraries, dozens of newspapers and books, and visits to places around the world. I thought I had documented the sources of all my information, but I soon discovered that I was missing a page number here, a folder number there, or a title or publisher. It took hours and hours and more hours to track everything down.
The photo is a picture of my office after I had finished. Papers everywhere.
Here is a close up of a page of my footnotes. The copy editor's comments are in red and my corrections are in blue and green. The picture below is my manuscript, finally completed! It's close to 470 pages, which will be about 380 in book form. Now I am just waiting for the finished cover.