Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Tip: Always Read the Galleys

Often before publication, your editor will send you a copy of your story that's been edited and formatted for you to review. This is called a galley or galley proof, although most of the time my editors just call them "edits." This is usually your last chance to have feedback before publication.

Always read the galley.

You would think this should go without saying, but when you're busy, or you've already worked extensively with the editor, you think that, this once, you can skip the final read-through.


I had one story where the editor and I had worked long and hard over the manuscript. Among other things, she had removed every one of my explicit speech tags. I had left most of them out, but had put a few back in. Later, she emailed the group saying that the anthology was in layout and the editing was done, and did anyone want their finalized story sent to them for one last review? I declined since she had said she had made few changes to the edits as they came back to her. As it turned out, one of those few changes was to re-remove one of my explicit speech tags, replacing it with an implicit one…and spelling the main character's name wrong!

Another time I had a story go through editing, and a few days before release we got our electronic author copies. Reading through it, I discovered that I had forgotten a word in one sentence, and both the editor, the proofreader, and I had all missed it. Since it was an electronic anthology, it was able to be corrected before release.

No matter how many times you've read the piece, once more won't kill you. If you have the opportunity, read the galley and make sure it's as clean as it possibly can be.

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