Artemis Invaded: Proofs and Sneak Peek

The page proofs for Artemis Invaded, the sequel to Artemis Awakening, arrived earlier this morning.  Guess what I’m going to be doing this week?

Awakeing and Invaded

Awakeing and Invaded

Yep.  I’m going to be re-reading the novel, looking for any and all flaws that might have crept in during the process of formatting (still often called “typesetting”) the manuscript.  I know some authors race through this process, but I’ve had enough odd experiences that I am always very careful.

For those of you who haven’t run into the term before, page proofs are the manuscript of the novel set up as it will be printed, including headings, dingbats, and any other flourishes.  The author is requested not to make any major changes – and is usually contractually restricted from doing so unless she wants to pay for the book being reformatted.

Even with today’s advances in computer typesetting, amazing errors can creep in.  Roger Zelazny warned me to always check the spelling of my name wherever it occurred in the text.  He’d caught his misspelled more than once, including a striking instance where it was misspelled at the top of every page.  I figured that such errors belonged to the age of the dinosaurs (or at least Guttenberg and handset type), until I found my own name spelled “Linskold.”

(This is almost as good as the David Weber anthology cover that rechristened me “Jan” Lindskold – and went to press that way.)

But Lindskold is not a particularly usual name.  In fact, many people pronounce it as if the first “d” is silent.  (Which is isn’t.)   I can see how the misspelling might be missed.

The error which always comes back to haunt me when I’m tempted to get lazy  and speed through the proofs – or heaven’s forfend, skip reviewing them entirely – is one that occurred in the mass market edition of my novel The Buried Pyramid.  I’d been very busy when these came in and figured “Why bother?  I’ve gone through these already for the hardcover printing.  Certainly nothing new will have cropped up.”

But my sense of responsibility got the better of me, so I decided to at least skim.  My red pencil came out on the very first page, filling in the first few words in the first sentence.  Not many new errors occurred; then, at the start of Chapter Two, again there were missing words.  And in Chapter Three and Chapter Four and…

That’s right.  Something in the formatting program had glitched, dropping roughly the first five words of every single chapter.  I’ll admit, I was seeing red (and not just from my marking pencil) by the end of my review.  Now, though, I’m glad this happened.  Never again will I be tempted to be lazy and skip the page proofs.  In fact, I’m more careful than ever, allowing enough time so that I can restrict myself to only a few chapters each sitting, so that I don’t become inattentive and tempted to skim.

Come along with me as I turn to the first chapter, “Forbidden Areas.”

“’Forbidden,’ you say?  That sounds promising.”

“Yes, I think it is.  Look at this codex, Griffin.  Maiden’s Tear has been a forbidden area since before the slaughter of the seegnur and death of machines.  There were other such prohibited zones, but they were not as absolutely off-limits as Maiden’s Tear seems to have been.”

Skipping down a paragraph or so:

“I asked, but couldn’t find out much about the place,” he continued.  “Maiden’s Tear was forbidden territory in the days of the seegnur.  Since then, it has been shunned by our people.”  Terrell looked uncomfortable.  “You see, Maiden’s Tear was where many of the seegnur met their deaths.”

I’m looking forward to reading on.  Excuse me while I get to work, won’t you?

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4 Responses to “Artemis Invaded: Proofs and Sneak Peek”

  1. Paul Genesse Says:

    Sage advice. I’ve made the mistake of not looking closely enough before. (hangs head in shame) The worst for me was three missing pages at the end of a critical chapter. It just stopped. Abruptly.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Oops!

      Seriously, though, proofing, even at a late stage, is crucial. And, if possible, get someone else to review the document, too.

      One of the “ghosts” told me about a well-known novelist who self-published a short story collection that was full of errors, including missing words. I’d bet large sums she did her own proofing.

      It’s impossible for an author to proof herself because she knows what is supposed to be there.

  2. Louis Robinson Says:

    You’re teasing us!

    Ah, well. At least you aren’t still working for Jim Baen. You’d probably have given us the entire chapter – punctuation only.

    • janelindskold Says:

      Ouch… I never have worked for Jim Baen, actually. I contributed a few stories to anthologies while he was alive, but that’s it. I met him only once…

      Most of my Baen contact has been with Toni and I’ve never done a solo project for her.

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