Rereading a book

Anne here, and today I’m talking about rereading my own books. I’m doing copyedits of my newest book (The Secret Daughter) at the moment. That means going through the manuscript with a fine-tooth comb, looking at where the copyeditor has flagged a problem or a question and deciding what to do with each little thing.

Mainly it’s to do with deleting commas, correcting spelling where I’ve used the English/Australian spelling instead of US spelling, and the occasional repetition of a word that the copyeditor thinks might jar on readers. It’s generally the same word used in one paragraph, or perhaps two consecutive ones. Sometimes I change the word but in other cases I want it there for emphasis.

And sometimes they flag a glitch where I have confused the reader, or changed some character’s eye color, or even name. Copy editors are very nit-picky, and I’m grateful for that, as I want my books to be as error-free as we can make it. But I can only do an hour or so at a time, as that very nit-pickiness also does my head in.

After that’s all done, and the editor has approved the changes I’ve made, it will be laid out in book format, and then go to a proofreader — and back to me for a final check. Reading through the final proofs of a book is usually the last time I read the book. Once it’s published I don’t touch it again, I think because I worry that I’ll spot something terrible or want to change something.

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