A galley proof day.

by Marie Marshall

(c) P’Kaboo Publishers

The moment you hold a galley proof of your book in your hands is a significant one. It is the moment that your mind-set shifts from ‘if this ever happens’ to ‘this is going to happen’. Of course there is still many a hurdle to jump on the way, but that’s how I felt when I held a preliminary copy of my novel Lupa today. I wonder if other authors feel the same way, and whether it applied as much to Harper Lee with her grand total of one novel – the wonderful To Kill a Mockingbird – as to Erle Stanley Gardner with his massive canon when they received a proof copy. My task today will be reading through the proof to see if anything has been missed during the editing stage.

Lupa is scheduled to be published by an independent publisher outside the UK; the publishers are trying to organise a separate print run in Britain, however, and it will also be available worldwide as an eBook. When I know the final arrangements and the launch date you’ll know too, but it may be in time for Literary Dundee in October.

Meanwhile a UK publisher has asked to see my second novel The Everywhen Angels. I merely mention this in passing because, as every author knows, that is only the very first step and one which might have to be retraced, having led nowhere. Even having a book accepted is part of a process in which each stage provokes a different reaction. There is the initial elation when the publisher says yes, the frustration and boredom when nothing seems to be happening, anger when a publisher’s editor insists on a change to the text – I recall how it felt to sacrifice a line of dialogue from Lupa, a line which I felt was the emotional climax of a key episode, at the insistence of the editor, but it had to be done and done with good grace on my part – anticipation as publication date moves nearer. As writers, authors, poets, we feel all these most keenly; it has to do with the urge to communicate, our art depending on language, the prime mode of human communication.

Ah well, time for a morning cup of tea. There’s a sunny day ahead today, and if I start my reading now I may get out into the fresh air later…