Self-Publishing Part 9: The Galley Proof or How the Worst Might Force a yet Another Hard Choice

Going it Mostly Alone: the Publishing Path of A Perfect Blindness


With the first proofread, all I was allowed to do was respond to the changes the proofreader made or suggested, as listed in a pre-formatted Word document. Any additional changes I wanted were to be held for this second proofreading. In other words, I hadn’t any reason to reread the manuscript, which was going to be changed anyway after I submitted the proofreading sheet. Occasionally, I flipped to the manuscript when I needed to check some context, but that happened rarely.

Now that I looked at the typeset manuscript carefully, the advice of the Quality Editor came back: that after the book is typeset, it needs to be proofread as things can happen when the conversion is made from MS Word to the typesetting software.

He had no idea how much could happen: as in all the italics were lost, but for the few the proofreader had put back in. I use them heavily to indicate actual thoughts of each POV character, which given the structure of contrasting views of the same people and events is not only critical but extensive, and as emphasis in dialogue. An average of over two instances a page over 434 pages. The proofreader had caught only a few dozen cases where I wanted them, and even got a few wrong (which I hadn’t accepted, and need now to correct). So, I started to collect all the changes, carefully putting each on a separate line in the proofreading sheet, with the page number, paragraph number and line number, including the current version, the updated version, and a note, explaining if need be, and giving it an X if it was a publisher error. As the number of instances that included words that should have been italicized added up, I worried about a line I’d read in some earlier documentation on the proofreading process that if there were more than a hundred changes, I should ask for a “retech”, their term for imputing the whole manuscript into the printing software from scratch.

I wrote my contacts, explaining that I might need a retech, mostly as a heads up sort of email, to let them know I’m working, but it’s taking a long time, and if there were something special I needed to do for a retech, then they could tell me.

That was a mistake.

I got this email in response:

            The retech would essentially be doing a full redesign of the book. With the Editor’s Choice and Rising Star, [b]ecause the Rising Star is contingent on having Editor’s Choice, […] if they [the Editorial Review Board] were to find that it does not meet editorial standards anymore then they would have to be fixed or you could lose Editor’s Choice and Rising Star.

            Um, what?

I’m not asking for many changes to what I sent in—a couple of dozen, mostly correcting errors—but rather to have all the formatting that the conversion had taken out returned.

Now what in the hell am I supposed to do? Give up on what is a critical part of my manuscript, or possibly lose the first two steps along the Traditional Publishing Path and then have to go through that whole process again?


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