Saturday, January 22, 2011

Getting out the red pen

3:47 p.m. Today's project was to review the final copy of my book, Galatians: An Exploration of Faith and Freedom, for minor errors, such as punctuation marks, that slipped past the eagle eyes of my proofreader and the editor at Tate Publishing.
Not knowing how reliable, or unbiased I'd be, I asked pastor's wife and our church bookstore manager Stephanie McTigue to do some final proofing as well. Honestly, I'm still incredulous that I've even got the book in my hands! It is beautiful in an understated, classical way that feels comfortable to hold, printed on non-glossy cream-colored pages. The publisher did a wonderful job!
I might not be reliable because I am only learning to be a "detail person"--I'm big picture all the way. Being a mother and homemaker has tempered that tendency, but let's not fit a square peg into a round hole. And I might be a tad biased for the same reason that parents don't sit on judging panels for music, beauty and sports competitions. This is my baby, although birthed 20+ years ago, it's seeing the light of day in a new form.
It actually made me nervous to read the personal stories that introduce each chapter, as if I didn't know what I'd already written! Everything seems fresh, so I kept wondering, "What's going to happen next?" like I would approach someone else's book. And then I thought, "Are these stories going to be embarassing? Or boastful? Or just seem to be what they are, factual events from my life?" Readers will be judging it for themselves soon enough!
I took the book, a red pen, and sat down at my small front patio table to begin reading the text. Last night I had gone through the Table of Contents, at the editor's written direction, to make sure the page numbers matched the chapter titles. So far, so good. The layout people have sent me an online live Word document to type in the errors I find, starting with the page, the error or omission, what is in that spot now, and then a blank space for the editor to accept or reject my correction. (I guess they know better than I do what's what!) I found that the author photograph had not been credited to Heather Allison Love Photography (my daughter's business); and that the endorsements from author Carole Gift Page and Christian school director Charlotte Stevens were missing from the back cover. I emailed that information also, with a note that these were very important to me.
There is a separate sheet in the packet that has an author sign-off on the colors of the cover. The colors don't seem to be what I'd chosen exactly, but darker, more serious. My subject matter is serious--salvation by grace alone--but the tone of the book is like my walk with the Lord--full of joy and excitement. Though sorely tried, I'm with the Apostle Peter in my faith, as I "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." (I Peter 1:8)
Whether I should make an issue of the color is a matter of prayer. How much can be changed at this point? Or does this mock-up version of the book even show the true color? As for the back cover, my portrait is there, which in and of itself is a bit unnerving! Heather did a great job--I'm just not used to the concept of me on a book cover!! It's like a dream or something I've just imagined...
The Lord is so good!
I've found some little punctuation errors, and Stephanie will probably find more. And I am trying to use the correct editing marks, with some success. As with most efforts, Ecclesiastes 4:9 rings true: "Two are better than one, for they have a good reward for their labor." A practiced, studious, neutral reader will do very well in this effort!
As long as I have dreamed of writing a book, God put it together this year, this time, for people to read now. His ways and plans for my life are beyond anything I could have imagined, both the joys and trials. I'll close with familiar verses, Ecclesiastes 3:1 and 11:
To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.
He has made everything beautiful in His time.

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