Well, that’s it. The final comma’s been checked, the last i’s been dotted and t’s been crossed – metaphorically speaking, of course. This week I finished my read-through and revisions of The Scent of Death’s page proofs, and sent them back off to my publisher.
Exactly why they’re called proofs I couldn’t say, but they’re basically loose pages that have been typeset exactly as the finished book will be. They’re also the last chance an author has to make late alterations before a novel goes off to the printer.
It’s one of the last stages in the publishing process, and one I always have mixed feelings about. Having spent the past eighteen months sweating over story, plot and characters, now the novel is – literally – out of my hands.
Obviously, there’s a big sense of relief that it’s finally finished. To a varying degree, there’s also a feeling of ‘now what?’ when something that’s occupied so much of your waking moments is finally sent off to sink or swim on its own. And, for me, there’s inevitably a nagging concern that there might be something I’ve overlooked, or could simply have done better.
But that’s the nature of writing. So, I’ll be putting away the manuscripts and notes for yet another novel – my eleventh, if anyone’s counting – and clearing my desk of all things The Scent of Death. And clearing my mind, too. I’ve done my bit – now it’s down to publishers, cover designers, the sales and marketing team, and booksellers. And, of course, though still a little way down the road, the readers.
Over to you.