Friday, April 2, 2010

how a book becomes a book--copyedits

Hello everyone, happy April. I'm going to be nineteen in ten days, which is ridiculous.

So as you should know, last week I was working on my edits for INVINCIBLE SUMMER. Basically, my editor sent back my manuscript (this time it was electronic and hard copy--for BREAK it was just hard copy. It's fun to watch things change) with a letter summing up the basic things I needed to do--add about 40-60 pages, draw out a minor character and strengthen her relationship with the main character, slow down the ending (you're going to like this ending, goddamn it), etc. In the manuscript, she'd marked specific lines she didn't like or places where she wanted me to add more.

Somehow all these edits translated into me being like "MOAR SEX" and stuffing the book full of the dirty bits, so if you're scandalized by the nakedness when you're reading INVINCIBLE SUMMER, please remember MY EDITOR MADE ME DO IT.


So, she emailed me yesterday and essentially said "Good work, hannah." (Actually she said I'm a genius and a rock star and I made her sob through the last fifth of the book, but even I'M not egotistical enough to post that kind of praise on my blog, hello.) We don't have to do another round of edits, which is exciting, because I hit all the points she wanted me to hit (and I'm a rock star) so now we're going straight to copyedits, the next part of the process.

Copyedits are cool. For BREAK, they were hardcopy, and I have a feeling they will be for IS too. Basically, you get a passage, and inside is your manuscript, all crazy marked up. It's already been through the hands of at least two people--your copyeditor and your editor. These edits are all small. In BREAK, there was a lot of changing "Seven-Eleven" to "7-Eleven" and making sure the therapist's name was spelled consistently (I had like twelve different versions of her name) throughout her scene. The copyeditor will also make sure that a character who you said was sitting down isn't suddenly standing up. Copyeditors freakin' have your back, basically. I love it.

Some of the changes might have "STET" next to them already--that means your editor saw them and disliked them and vetoes them. My editor didn't like capitalizing "popsicle," even though it's technically supposed to be, I think, so that stayed lowercase in BREAK.

You have veto power too, which is fun. I can't remember specific examples for when I wrote STET for BREAK, but I know I did it at least a few times. If there's something you don't like, you just write STET next to it. The other changes you leave as-is. You don't have to go into the document and make the changes the copyeditor gives you; that's the typesetter's job. You just look the edits over and approve them. It's one of the first times you really feel like you're working with your publisher as a member of a larger team, and I really like that feeling. It stops being just you and your editor and becomes you and your editor and your copyeditor and your typesetter and your art designer and your marketing director and your publicist and your everythingelse and that's pretty cool.

So I'm anticipating those! Any questions about the publishing process (or anything) let me know.


Cambria Dillon said...

A couple things:

1) Thanks for the insider's view on copyedits. I can only imagine the feeling when you know you're *that* much closer to a real book-baby.

2) Congrats on being a Rockstar. It's a well-deserved title. You should totally have that made up into a pin to wear on your birthday in 9 days...

3)...which also happens to be my bday, too (although I can't say I'm turning 19...sigh). 4/12 will be one helluva day!

hannah said...

4/12 is going to be AMAZING.

Amanda J. said...

Woo!! Thanks for the insider scoop on copyedits! :)

Jamie B said...

Thanks for the breakdown on how this all comes together. I never knew you didn't have to implement the copy edits, that the typesetter did that. Sweet! :) Can't wait for IS!

Anonymous said...

4/12 is an awesome date to born on. You also share it with my last year roommate Kelsey and my aunt Phyllis. Oh and some historical YA book releases on your birthday too.

I just wanted to say thank you for writing BREAK and IS because it helped me write my YA contemporary novel. I wrote it in 5 weeks (first draft) and it was my "Hannah Moskowitz novel" (no seriously I dubbed it that). It's full of sex and underage drinking and teens murdering people and mean girls and cursing. Your books made me believe it was okay to write that stuff and that there is someone out there who would read it (besides my friends and!). So thank you.

Best of luck with IS and I can't wait for it!! :-)


P.S. Happy Passover. Are you celebrating it? Being in college for the 2nd year in a row during the P week is horrible. :(

Nadine said...

This was a fun post! Although I had heard people mention copy edits, no one went into the detail you did (i.e popsicle not capitalized). This was cool to see what you had changed, etc.

Congrats on finishing the edits for IS!!

hannah said...

I love ya, Rachel.

I did a seder last weekend at my parents' house with all my cousins and stuff. It was cool.

Happy Passover!

Robby said...

Invincible Summer. Yes. Moar sex.

hannah said...

If this book had any more sex, it would leak on your bookshelf.

Anonymous said...

Hope this doesn't seem too creepy (what the with the anonymous and all), but I actually typeset BREAK and really enjoyed the read.
I also write promo copy for lots of S&S books, including yours. And as it's part of my job to verify your website address is correct, of course I ended up checking out your blog, and just want to say congrats on being so awesome at such a young age! You have a great attitude ab the publishing process that is much appreciated. Rock on!

Julie said...

These copy editor people sound like FREAKIN GODS! I struggle with iPod or IPOD or ??? and then Jello or jello?