In my last post on this topic of the editing process of my books, I discussed them being sent to the editor–the one looking for in congruencies within the story, origins of words, fixing typos, etc.
After I get it back from her, I read through it again and either accept or reject her changes to my manuscript. By this I mean, if she thought a comma should go here, she’ll put one there, then a little flag pops out to the side. Same if she changes a spelling of a word (to make it know instead of now) or any other physical change she makes. She’ll also write notes like: I thought her hair was red? Big changes like this, where you’re actually changing the story, are made in the comments and not in the text. My text never changes except for grammatical or mechanical reasons. The story is still how I wrote it and if there are inconsistencies, they’re in the margins. Once I fix those, I send it off to LeeAnn who was gracious enough to write out exactly what she does, her background and how the two of us met and she got moved into proofreader position!
I have always loved to read. As far back as I can remember I could be found with a book in my hand. My reading is so much of a favorite past time for me that I read anywhere between one hundred to two hundred books in a month’s time. Yes, the librarians know me by sight and I am a big book geek. And you ask what does this have to do with this lovely and humorous blog I am reading. Well I am about to tell you. My definition of a good book is a book I can lose myself into; one that wraps me into the author’s tale. When the characters become people you stand next to through their journey.
Once I find an author who can create a book like that for me I begin to read every book they have written. Ms. Gordon had only written her first two at the point I became an avid fan. So off I went to her website; because no pun intended but “Nosey Rosey has to know.” I wanted to find out when to expect the next book. Instead I found out much more. She needed beta readers for her books. Wonderful, I was in my glory I can read a book before it is published. A dream come true for a book reader like myself. Even better she wrote my favorite genre of book Historical Romance that takes place in Europe during the 1800s.
So on May 20, 2011 I immediately sent an email out stating my sincere interest in becoming a beta reader. Who would have guessed that I would hear back the same day and from the author herself. Right now I know you are thinking Zippy Do Da however I promise this story leads to a little insight into the life of one of our most favorite authors Rose Gordon. First you must listen to a little more about me. I will certainly let you know by bold face type when I get to Rose.
Next, I became a beta reader and while reading I found few typos. What I have not told you is that for a good portion of my life I worked for an Attorney writing and editing his correspondence. He was a perfectionist and would give all drafts back with corrections in red pen. I learned to hate red pen so much so that I became determined to receive a non red marked copy back. So now while reading, I do not see dead people but I see errors. This doesn’t deter me from reading nor do I email authors and let them know what I have found when reading their books.
Since I am already giving my input on her book I decide to ask if she would like me to forward over the typos I have found. Emails go back and forth and before I knew it this crazy woman asks me if I wouldn’t mind getting paid to proof read her books. Actually her regarding line read, “An unusual favor,” and then the email read, “This is kind of strange, and I really don’t know how to word this, so excuse the bluntness of it all, but I was wondering if you might consider stepping out of the beta reading group and instead do one final proofread for my books before they go live?”.
My response was heck yes I would love it, and so Rose and I started to email back and forth finding out how much we shared in common and building the most unique and blessed friendship. I now both beta read and am the second I believe, proof reader in her team. I begin with the beta reading and highlight all typos and such I find. I then re-read the book when it is ready for my proofing and combine the findings and track all changes. The last step I perform is a grammatical one. I am no English professor but I fancy myself pretty adequate.
Now the good stuff. I have never met Rose in person yet we know so much about each other. Of course some of that is from all the emails back and forth over a two year period. However a good deal is the unusual stalkerish persona we both share and of course with the help of Facebook. So it is true, she is extremely shy, she has a very unusual sense of humor, of which I love, and her personal life is just as full of the bizarre events that her characters end up in. When it comes right down to it I feel very blessed to not only work for her but to also consider her a very dear friend.
Oh, and another thing I know “Bob’s” real name. :p
As with the editor, she’ll make grammatical error corrections in the text and leave lovely comments in the margins when something doesn’t read right or it’s contradictory to another part of the story. Fortunately, I don’t make hundreds of new errors when making revisions based on the editor’s comments and changes. And like she said, one of the best parts is that we’ve gotten to know each other personally via emails and Facebook.