The Final Proof.

This is it.

It arrived in my inbox yesterday. It took twenty-one instalments of twenty pages at a time, almost a complete ream of paper, two ink cartridges, and a maximum dose of patience to print out on my slow, hesitant ancient little desk-jet printer.
It is the final proof!

It’s a bizarrely strange and exhilarating feeling to hold this sheaf of paper in my hands. Clearly I have done many rounds of proofing before, right up to the final proof before original publication. But this is different. This is a document formatted for paperback publishing; each page is laid out exactly as it will appear in the actual book! This is a manuscript prepared and proofed for me by someone else. In a different font. It looks and feels completely different to the last version of the manuscript that I clutched in my trembling hands. This is final!  When I am done with this, it will go to the printer. Whoa!

What will I do with it? First of all, I shall read it back to front, and bottom up. I’m not looking to read the story this time; I am looking once again for typos, missing punctuation marks, errant parentheses and other fine points of style and grammar. Whatever I find, I shall note down and send back to the wonderful team at Sapphire Star.

Next, I shall go through the proofing sheet sent by Sapphire Star to look through and approve the last set of comments or changes made by the publisher. This, I will do during a traditional front-to-back-top-to-bottom read. So essentially, in the next week, I shall read this manuscript twice. Thank God it’s the school holidays so I have lots of uninterrupted time at my hands… not! :-)

I am tremendously excited. This is it; this is real. Signing the publishing contract ‘way back when’ in February felt real, but in an abstract way. This is really real. Roll on 6 September when I shall hold, not a proof but an actual book in my hands. Whooooop!

It’s a big deal to me, and therefore I send apologies just in case I’m going on about it in an undue fashion. But it is very exciting… the last step on the way to actual printing.

If you’re an author, how do you feel when the final proof lands in your hand? And what proofing strategies do you employ at this, the end-stage of the process?

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24 responses to “The Final Proof.

  1. Congratulations, Nicky – well deserved. I loved the book, and am looking forward to the next.

    • Yay! Thanks so much, Livbet, that makes me so happy. The sequel, Sophie’s Run, will be out in February… not lightyears away, it appears. But one thing at a time. Hope you’ll enjoy all the partying around the release of Sophie’s Turn, too. XX Have a great day. :-)

  2. This is so exciting!! I agree with Livbet – it is very well deserved, Sophie’s Turn is brilliant and I can’t wait to read it again! I also look forward to the next book in February :) x

  3. Congratulations, Nicky – wonderful moments like this live with you always, so I hope you are soaking it up and committing it to memory! No need to apologise for your excitement – I hope we’re all allowed to share that without being judged for it!

    It was an astonishing feeling when we had our final proof paperback delivered. Seeing the book with its cover and ISBN and everything . . . well, suddenly, it was real, y’know? Like you, it’s a moment we’ll treasure.

    It was perhaps equalled when the boxes of our 44 Limited Editions were delivered, and we had our little book-signing……. ;)

    Keep having fun :) :) :)

    • Oh yes, the ISBN! Haven’t even mentioned that in the post, but that really got me quite weepy! Thanks for your lovely comment, Joanna, it’s wonderful to know that you understand where I’m coming from. XX

  4. So excited for you.
    I always have mixed emotions when the proof comes. I still get excited, even after book number 28 :), but having one in the works and usually one mid-production, I also feel like I’m ready to let go. It’s as if it doesn’t belong to me anymore. I’ve sort of moved on by then and know I’ve reached the stage where it’s out of my hands. I’m a bit of a control freak and a perfectionist, so for me, it’s best to feel kind of removed.
    Wishing you all the very best Xx

    • Thanks so much for your good wishes, Elle! That means a lot. I’m so happy you popped by today. I’m a bit of a control freak too, so I find this stage particularly stressy… I can’t let go. Maybe it’s a skill I’ll acquire with time. XX :-)

  5. I just had the same experience, Nicky! I was so excited to see the proof in my inbox. It looked fantastic formatted for print. Unlike you, I didn’t print mine out to read it, but put it on my iPad and read it there, noting things that needed to be corrected.

    When I sent it back approved (pending a few errors I picked up on), then it was a great sense of relief followed by another wave of excitement. It was really happening! My book was really going to be published! That sense of euphoria was soon followed by a feeling of “okay, now what do I do?”

    • Euphoria, what a great word to describe this moment: yes! I’m not quite there yet but nearly, nearly. Thanks for popping by, Melanie, and for your lovely comment. :-)

  6. It is very exciting! So happy for you, Nicky. Best of luck.

  7. How exciting is this? I’m so happy for you, Nicky! :)

  8. Well done Nicky an important and amazing stage in the process . You should be very proud if what you have achieved . Xx ps what is ISBN?

    • Leis, it’s so lovely to see you here again! Shame I can’t pop across the road anymore to share these news with you… :-) Anyhoo, thanks so much for your comment, I am proud (blush) and excited. ISBN is for International Standard Book Number, which is a unique identifier for a book and helps bookshops with their order and stocking processes, or so I gather. :-)

  9. Oh this is exiting. As you know, my release is one mouth after yours, so I get little heart flutters every time you post about publication. Congratulations! You deserve it! I’m so glad I get to enjoy the journey with you. I think I may just cry when I hold my book for the first time. How about you?

    • Oh Dana, what a sweet thing to say. I know what you mean–I see the upcoming releases in August, and I think (selfishly): gosh, I’m next! The cover of Sophie’s Turn is already up under ‘coming soon’ on the Sapphire Star website… OMG! Will I cry? Definitely. I got all choked up when I first saw it on Amazon over a year ago, and that was ‘only’ the Kindle edition. Holding the actual thing in my hands? I predict torrents. It’s a bit like giving birth, really. (Oh God, does that mean I’m in labour???? OUCH!). Thanks for your visit today and for sharing my journey with me! xx

  10. I can feel your excitement all the way over in Nice! Bet your printer was hot, hot, hot … just like the story! Congrats – you are nearly there and you will be thrilled to hold that first paperback in your hands Nicky. Lx

    • Oh, I can’t wait! Counting the days… will be counting the hours soon, haw haw haw! Hope you’re having a nice time in Nice (sorry, couldn’t resist) and thanks so much for dropping by during your well-deserved holiday!

  11. How very exciting! Good luck with finding time for the final edits and enjoy the fruits of your labour!

  12. I can imagine your excitement. I can not wait to get to this stage. Much success to you.

    • Hello, Ireca! Thank you so much for your kind comment and visit. It is a very exciting stage indeed, especially when it all pays off and you hold the book in your hands in the end. I hope you reach the stage soon and find it just as exciting. Stay in touch ~ I love it when folks say hello! :-) Good luck to you and keep rocking. x

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