Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Proof is in the Pudding

The proofs for the book We Could Possibly Comment - Ian Richardson Remembered were waiting for me on the doormat this morning when I got back from my swim.

I suppose the emotions I felt when I was opening the envelope were a mixture of relief that they were reaching me soon enough, hopefully, for me to get them back to Troubador in time for copies to be ready for the Writers' Summer School in early August, and trepidation as to how I would feel upon reading it again. I'm sure there will be the odd thing I look at and think I could have written/edited better - or perhaps not said at all, and other things I wish I'd put in, but that will always be the case with something you create.

The photo proofs - there will be two black & white and one colour section - and the cover proof should be with me shortly.

I know I'll have mixed feelings when the finished product arrives and I see 'the book' for the first time. Of course, there should be a sense of elation when your first book is published and you get to hold it in your hand for the first time. In this case it will be more a sense of relief that what I set out to do - to honour Ian's memory by getting a book on him out there - has at last been achieved. And there will be sadness too - the reason it has been completed is because Ian is no longer with us.

However, I hope it will awaken in those who read it, many memories of a wonderful actor and very special human being. And for those who read it but never got to meet him or see his performances on stage, film or television, a sense of the man - and perhaps the urge to obtain many of his visual or audio works that are still available.


  1. I don't believe there is ever a book published that doesn't have some imperfections that cause the author pangs of guilt and grief!

    Personally, once I've got past the proof stage, I never read it again!

  2. I remember my first set of proofs very well (actually, I still have it: the proofs had been read by a professional proofreader too and there was maybe one correction to be made so I didn't have to return them). It's a fantastic feeling.

    Yours are being read by someone else too, aren't they? It's essential.

    I never read the finished product either: by then, I know the stuff by heart... and I'm rather fed up with it.

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  4. Yes, they are being read by a fellow Strathkelvin Writers' member who used to edit books for Collins.
    I'm actually quite surprised at how much work I've already had to do on the proofs. A lot of the words - plays, television programmes etc - that were italicised in the Word document manuscript I sent to the publishers have lost their formatting.
    I am now very familiar with the symbol for italicise!

  5. LOL! When I was hired as an editorial assistant by Mills & Boon, back in 1980, I lied at the interview and said I was familiar with proofreading symbols (I had corrected proofs in French and figured it wouldn't be rocket science in English either). I learned them on the train, on the way to Stratford (to see a show), the weekend before I was due to start work. The following Monday I had to put my new-found knowledge into practice. No one had told me about the different colours I had to use, though: blue for author's corrections, etc.

  6. Oops!

    I think I'd better go and read through all the instructions Troubador sent me again ...

  7. Only if they're charging you for any corrections you make at proof stage: they need to be able to distinguish between printer's errors and your changing your mind about something.

    Btw, Word doesn't always keep the formatting. You probably should have indicated italics more or less the way one does in HTML, like with [i] and [/i] before and after the italicised words. The typesetter can then just search for those marks and replace them easily.

  8. I'll only be charged if I start adding in anything to the body of the book or making any significant changes.

    I'll bear your suggestion in mind (which wasn't a requirement) for my next book!