Well, ‘Eden’s Garden’ is one step nearer to being a real book! In fact, it’s about as close to being a real book as you can be, without being actually printed.
If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the past weeks, it’s just how much work goes into producing a single book. I’m not talking about the writing of it, now, but the actual turning of the final copy into a book. All the years I was working towards getting published, I kept on being told just how sure a publisher needed to be before they took on a new author. Now I can see exactly why.
At the end of December, I finished the copy edits, the final tweaks and corrections. This is how ‘Eden’s Garden’ looked then. It’s how it’s looked for the past year or so. A manuscript. Usually slightly more dog-eared and scribbled over, and with the tell-tell stains of coffee (wine, chocolate, tears, paw-prints …… more coffee, more wine).
This is the final version, so not quite so scribbled over. It’s an odd process, this final one, to try and detach yourself from the story (and still trying to tweak it in writer-obsessive fashion) and see it with an outside eye. I still couldn’t spot missing words and sentences that made no sense. Thank heaven for the professional proof-reader, and for my heroic friend who offered to be another fresh pair of eyes.
And so to the next stage. The Proofs. This is the bit I’ve just finished. Time to go through the whole thing yet again. This time with an even more detached eye (is this possible? That bit there, that could just do with a bit more- down girl, down!) for final typos. Now I know what writers mean when they say they get to a stage when they never want to see the dratted thing again. Thank heaven again for the professional proof-reader and another heroic friend who went through it as well. Well, at least that bit in Victorian London where a ‘moped’ appeared has been firmly squashed. I seem to remember I did not set out to write a steam-punk novel of any variety. The lady in question is now safely back to her mopping instead of dodging the horse-drawn carriages on the back of a futuristic machine. Phew.
The thing about the Proofs, though is that this is the first glimpse of how the book will look. This is where the heart beats faster and the stomach gets that little flutter in there. This is a book. A real book! And the next time I’ll see it, it will be a REAL book. And a real ebook. Wow.
And so is how it looks.
Because the story takes place both in the present day and in Victorian times, I used italics in the manuscript to make the different sections clear. In the printed pages, the two times are shown by beautiful little flowers. I love them both! This is the present.
And this one is the mysterious voice from the past, who leaves a trail that will eventually lead Carys to the coast of Cornwall in a search for the truth …..
While I was writing this post, I had a first glimpse of the final cover, which is utterly and totally gorgeous. I can’t wait until next week when it arrives in its final form.
And that is when the whole thing will come together.
Now I am getting seriously excited!
There may be snow on the mountains behind me, but my garden (not nearly as grand as Plas Eden’s, despite the polytunnel that is still valiantly giving me rocket for my tea) has declared that spring has begun…