Yesterday a brightly dressed man got off a DHL Express truck and delivered a package to my house that contained the galleys for my new book, Helping Our Children Grow in Faith. Galleys are the edited copy of the book for me to look at and decide if I agree with what my editor did to the manuscript. It also gives me a chance to fix mistakes and to make any changes I'd like to make. In some ways this is pretty easy – it's mostly reading and making red marks on the page when I'd like to change something. It's a lot like grading papers except I don't have to decide how good or how bad it is – I just have to decide if I like it. I also only have to read one of these instead of sixty, like I did at the end of the semester. Not only that but I like the writing in this case. Editing the galleys usually involves writing "yes" next to the place where Kristen (the editor) wrote "Is that sentence OK?" This indicates a spot where she edited and thinks she may have changed what I meant to say. So far (one chapter in) she's been right on target. There are also lots of places where she made minor changes that she didn't bother to ask about because that's what editors do.
I also get to find all the citations that I made that were incomplete – like places where I say "in this book, Berryman says…" and Kristen says "what page?" So I have to go find the page in the book with that particular line in it! Google Books is like the best thing EVER. It's a lot easier to type the quote into the "search in this book" place once you've found the book there than it is to re-read the whole book. After an hour with Google I only had two books that I had to actually page through to find the page I referred to. One of these books I had at home and found already.
So I'm taking a short break from working on my next book (which I'm just starting) to fix Helping Our Children Grow in Faith and get it back to the publisher so that they can go on to the next stage – page proofs. I've been warned that making changes at that time is expensive which I think is not-subtle code for "don't do it, buddy!" It's always exciting to get to the next stage in the publishing process. I was also told that I can expect to see artwork for the cover some time soon. Woo-hoo!