“So have you finished for the year, Carole?”
People are always asking me that.
“No, I have a book that’s going to the printers on the 19th,” I reply.
“Which book?” they say.
“Shadow Sister, the 5th Dragonkeeper book.”
“I thought you finished that months ago.”
“I finished the first draft in July, second draft in September, third draft early this month.”
People often don’t realise how many official drafts authors go through.
Up to the third draft, the book is just a Word document. After that it gets formatted and designed, so that it finally looks like the book as it will be published, with page numbers, nice font and fancy chapter headings. Something happens when you first see it like that. Suddenly mistakes and things that need changing leap off the page.
And lots of other people are reading it. Publisher, editor, proofreader. They want to make changes too.
And I have to add the end matter (acknowledgements, glossary, pronunciation guide) and update the maps.
And there are only three days to go!
“But why don’t you leave it till after Christmas?”
Some people imagine that authors write when they feel like it and take as long as they need to write a book. J K Rowling and Terry Pratchett might get away with that, but I can’t! The publisher has a schedule. They have lots of authors writing books. They have to have them spaced out throughout the year.
This book has to go to press on the 19th. No arguments.
I’m expecting another draft tonight.