Publishing Journey: The typeset manuscript (AKA “the first pass”)

Because this is my first book and I’m pretty clueless, every week seems to present some surprise. The latest surprise was an email from my editor’s lovely assistant to say the typeset manuscript (also called the “first pass”) just landed on her desk and she was going to overnight it to me for my review.

So, what’s this “first pass” all about? Well, it’s still on 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper, but it’s laid out like the book will be and it incorporates all the changes from the copyediting phase. The publisher uses the first pass manuscript to make ARCs. ARCs are Advance Reading Copies (or Advance Review Copies) and they’re sent out ahead of the release date to specific people for publicity and marketing purposes.


My mission: Read through the manuscript, check for any errors, and make any last-minute fixes. The instructions specified, “Please do not make any major rewrites.” Ha! I have no interest in major rewrites at this point. I am thrilled for this book to be done. It’s a solid story. I’m happy with it. But I’ll be glad when I don’t have to read it again. Is that bad to say? It’s just that I’m so familiar with the story at this point that it’s hard for me to put myself in a reader’s shoes and see the book as new and exciting. It will be interesting to hear from readers about their experiences with the story. I’m looking forward to that, though I’m afraid of Amazon reviews.

I have to get the typeset manuscript, with my edits in colored pencil (not sure why this is a requirement, but I chose blue), back to my publisher by November 11. Given that I’ve had some personal stuff going on lately (which is making its way into the new book I’m writing) and this is one of the busiest times of year with my job, I’m really fucking a little stressed. It will get done, somehow. It always does. And then I’ll get a new surprise…

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