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Dying Is My Business: Two Steps Closer

In the hopes that it might be of interest to some of you, I promised a while back that I would use this blog to detail the journey my novel, Dying Is My Business, takes from manuscript to finished book. Well, to that end, today I’ve got two new and exciting developments to share with you.

First, a month or so back my editor contacted me with a “dummy” of the proposed interior design of the book (complete with everyone’s favorite lorem ipsum placeholder text). My editor, my agent, and I tweaked it just a tad before coming to consensus pretty quickly — which was easy to do because the proposed design is amazing! I’m not just talking about what font or text size they’re using, though that’s an important part of book design, too. No, one of the things I’m really coming to love about working with St. Martin’s Press is how they go the extra mile. In terms of design, that extra mile includes an actual, recurring image motif. And it’s a doozy! (No spoilers here. You’ll see it when the novel hits shelves on October 8!)

Next, I received a mysterious and unexpected package from St. Martin’s a couple of weeks ago. I thought it was the copyedited manuscript being returned to me because they didn’t need it anymore. Thoughts began racing through my head about a reader giveaway or a charitable auction — you know, all the things much bigger and more popular authors than me think about doing with these things — but when I opened the package it was something else entirely: the typeset manuscript, incorporating that same amazing interior design. (Can you still say manuscript when it’s typeset? I’m going to go with yes.)

Along with the typeset manuscript (see?) came the instructions to correct any typos or grammatical errors I find within. But I was deeply focused on finishing the next book, and frankly, I’d already read Dying Is My Business so many times and in so many different versions that I no longer thought I could trust myself to focus on finding errors and not, instead, add whole new conversations between characters because wouldn’t it be cool if… Luckily, my darling wife offered to proofread the typeset manuscript for me. I knew it would be in good hands because part of her job is to proofread all her company’s public magazines, brochures, and emails. And indeed she found a small amount of typos left over from the copyedits. Only four or five, though, which is a pittance in a novel that’s nearly 400 pages long.

Alas, there’s no such thing as a perfect book, as much as we wish there were, so it’s possible typos will still slip into the finished book. Just know that we all did everything we could to make sure the novel offered as clean a reading experience as possible. Believe me, I know nothing can pull the reader right out of a story faster than a glaring typo! But yeah, no matter what we do, they’re still going to happen. You can pretty much count on it.

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