I got the page proofs through from Del Rey. They look like this:
It turns out that my humble 99,000 word offering clocks in at a massive FOUR-HUNDRED-AND-TWENTY PAGES. It’s feasible that you could use my debut novel as a reasonably effective self-defence weapon (I claim no responsibility for the success or, more importantly, lack of success of any such attempt). And I had to go through all of these to check and make sure things hadn’t been missed in all the previous edits. I mean, it was a superfluous exercise, because after me, and my editor, and a copy-editor had ALL been over it numerous times already there was no way that anything could have-
…oh, okay, well perhaps there was one thing there which I wrote right at the beginning when I was starting and never remembered to change once it no longer fitted with the rest of the story, but that would be the only-
…hang on, I’m sure that didn’t say that when I was editing the final draft. Huh. Well, that must at least be-
…right, this is getting stupid now.
So, it turns out that actually there are plenty of things you don’t see when a manuscript is on a computer screen, but which jump out and assault your eyeballs whilst screaming “Look! Look at me! Just think how ridiculous you’d feel if I got printed!” as soon as you’re looking at inked slices of dead tree. And this, incidentally, is why I doubt that I for one will ever move away from the dead tree school of printed media: expensive, space-demanding and resource-hungry though it might be, my brain simply processes words on paper better than it ever can words on a screen.
Also, if you’ve left your book at work for the weekend then you can pull another book out of your well-stocked bookcase. If you leave your e-reader at work for the weekend… well. That would be a time when the words ‘minimum safe distance’ would be applicable. Or possibly not, actually.
So anyway, I have now finished going over the page proofs for Dark Run and have sent them back, along with the dedication page and the acknowledgements page. The acknowledgements page was actually a hard one to do – you don’t want to ramble on like some self-indulgent Oscars speech, but nor do you want to go “I did this myself. BYE.” I actually looked through the acknowledgements pages of several of my favourite authors just to double-check how the hell one should actually structure these things. And then probably did something completely different, and doubtless forgot at least one person who should be in there.
One other correction I had to make was to the author bio: simply, “I now have TWO snakes!” Here’s our new snake, a baby royal python called Dresden. Yes, after Harry.