The Glory and Horror of the Proof Copy

There is something very exciting about holding the proof copy of an upcoming book. It’s a blessing and a curse. By the time you get to the point where there is a proof, you have been living with the project for a long time. Honestly, you’ve probably been living with it for months, maybe years.1 You have edited and edited and edited. Every time you think that you are done, you find something else.2

Then there is the formatting. If you are publishing this particular book, you also have the good fortune of formatting the work. Odds are you have had to play around at least a little with that.

What I’m saying is, you might be just a little sick of it.

So now all of that work has come to fruition. You hold in your hands the final copy of…

…no, wait. It’s not the final copy.

It’s just the proof.

As delightful as it is to know that you have a copy of your book to look through, it is
not the final copy. You still have to go through it again. This is your last chance to catch those mistakes. Despite how tired you are of the material, you have to go through it with a fine tooth comb, make sure everything is just right.

Then. Then you can relax and bask in the beauty of the published book.3

1 If it is something that you
wrote you’ve been living with it for even longer.

2 And that’s just the mistakes. Heaven help you if you start making changes to the actual story.

3 And yes, you will find an errant comma or typo that managed to sneak by.