Over the weekend, I reviewed the page proofs for Hellforged. Page proofs show the mansucript all laid out and typeset. When you read them, you check for typos and other minor issues that need fixing before the book gets printed. The book is now in its almost-final form, so this isn’t the time to make sweeping revisions, just necessary tweaks.
It’s interesting how different a book feels when it’s laid out in galleys. I write my manuscripts in Word, double-spaced, and while it’s in that format it feels like a work in progress. I can move paragraphs around, change words, delete or add text. Even if I’ve sent in the final version to my editor, when I open a Word file, the urge to tinker is almost overwhelming.
When I get the page proofs, whether I look at them as PDFs or print out a hard copy, it feels a lot more like I’m reading a “real” book. This is how the pages will look when they’re printed and cut and bound into the books that will soon grace the shelves of your friendly neighborhood bookstore. There’s much less of an urge to tinker—which is a good thing, because it’s expensive to make changes at this stage. Mostly, I’m looking for typos. I always find at least a few.
What I like best about reading page proofs, though, is that it’s the first time I get a feel for my story as a book. That’s always a thrill.