Sunday, November 11, 2007

Galley Glitches

The galleys for my 2008 short-story collection from Golden Gryphon, Nano Comes To Clifford Falls and Other Stories, arrived yesterday in the mail. They were accompanied by the Hungarian edition of Oaths and Miracles; the long-overdue payment from Kodak; and a royalty check, from the reprint of a story in an obscure anthology, for $4.78. I won't spend that all in one place.

I have learned to go over galleys very carefully. This is due not to publishers' glitches but to me. When the galleys for an early novel of mine turned up decades ago, I had no time to go over them and they were required back, like, yesterday: rush rush rush URGENT! So I hired my teenage son to read them for me. He missed a few things, which is why the book came out with the phrase "public announcement" without the "l."

The hardcover of Oaths and Miracles, my first thriller, was worse. I read the galleys hastily. Very hastily. Somehow I didn't notice that, from all the chaotic electronic vesions on my computer, the one the publisher used (which he must have obtained from me) was missing a critical chapter. The hardcover came out without it. I restored this chapter in the paperback, but not before several friends and one reviewer delicately inquired why I'd chosen to tell my story with the climax off-stage.

So I'm going over these galleys extremely carefully. It takes a long time, but I do learn.

7 comments:

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Never underestimate the power of publishers to screw-up the finest. As a former proofreader, I was shocked and CraVizedndob to see what comes through the pipes. Told my old boss at WordFlow, about a monstrous piece of copy, "Karen, this doesn't make any =kind= of sense! Should I correct it?" "Michael, what's your job?" "I read proof." "That's right. You're not a copy editor. Don't worry about it." "But I feel--I dunno--kind of =responsible= for what goes by me." "Yeah? Well then, your ass is =fired!" I wept. Walked out with my head held high, though...somehow sporting Karen's porkpie hat. Just bravado. Me little heart transmuted... To a superheavy element of no name. I turned to drink. And then to drugs. Woke up in a forgotten alleyway, with me own grandpa hitting me up for a smoke.
So the point here? You know, don't patronize yourself. Mercy!

Nancy Kress said...

You do understand, Mike, that what I wrote about were not publishers' mistakes -- they were mine?

bluesman miike Lindner said...

Whoops! Just picked that up, reading again. Guess I read too hastily, assuming the author (underpaid, abused, broken-down) is always in the right.

My bad...

BuffySquirrel said...

All mistakes are the author's, at least until they produce a notarized transcript in which they do not appear ;).

karen wester newton said...

Spell checkers will let you down time and again. I work at a legal publishing company, and we had to make the word "pubic" a rejected word for all users because "pubic law" is an easy typo to make. Names can be the worst if the spell checker tries too hard to make them into words. One editor almost let something go out with a reference to Sandra Day Gonorrhea. I urge all writers to explore how their spell checker works. If it lets you reject words that are real words, then do it. I added "form" to that list because more often I mean "from".

I only hope some day I get to worry about someone else's mistakes!

Mark said...

Dang. Way back in the day I read "Oaths and Miracles" when it was first released in hardcover - and never realized until I read this blog that I was being short changed. So, for future reference after I track down the paperback, what is the missing chapter?

Nancy Kress said...

Mark -- The one with Judy and the kids in the cabin.