A writer whose name escapes me (Rita Mae Brown? Virginia Woolf?) once said, “You only know the book I wrote. You’ll never know the book I meant to write.” That pretty much describes to a T how I’m feeling, having just spent the weekend reading the second set of page proofs of my new book, Heartbreak Town (due out June 26), before FedExing them back to my editor in New York this morning.
For the record, I hate reading page proofs. In fact, it makes me downright frantic. Last chance!, a little voice on my shoulder screams in my ear. Last chance to get it right! Meanwhile, all I can see are the goofs—the places I used the word “just” three times in one paragraph, the chapter in which I unwittingly gave a secondary character a name similar to that of a minor but infamous celebrity.
For the uninitiated, page proofs are what happens to a manuscript after it’s typeset, Xeroxed, and mailed back to the author for perusal. It’s allegedly your last chance to correct really egregious errors, and it comes with a stern warning from a nameless personage at the publishing house that to make extensive changes is at the very least frowned upon and at most, could cost you money. (I’ve never had the latter happen, at least not yet, knock wood.) [Read more…]