Friday, 15 February 2013

The proof in print


'Oh God there are still so many mistakes in it but I'M SO HAPPY'

 

Next week's the week! I'm finally off to New York to meet the Bloomsbury USA team, followed by Kansas City for the ABA Winter Institute. I haven't been to the States since I stayed with my friends in Massachusetts in 2010, and I was only in New York for a day last time I went, so I'm really looking forward to hitting the Big Apple. I'm also a bit nervous, because I have to talk about The Bone Season and make it sound exciting enough to get booksellers interested in my little debut novel. (Not so little, actually. Ended up being quite a fat book.) Fortunately I now have my proofs to show them. Uncorrected proofs are pretty much the final product, with the correct font, chapter titles and layout, but they might contain typos and generally need a bit of tweaking. In my case, I used my proof to read the book carefully and smooth out the punctuation a little – I'm prone to short sentences on the screen, as they appeal to my tidy side, but I'm making them longer in the finished product. There were also some continuity issues in the final chapter that needed addressing: I rewrote the last chapter so many times, a couple of mistakes from older drafts had wriggled in. 

I discovered yesterday that if there are too many amendments made to the proofs, authors have to pay to help cover the cost of typesetting. Fortunately I didn't have any massive changes to make.   

All this talk of proofs brings me to the very first TBS competitionYou could win an uncorrected proof of The Bone Season, typos and all. Just follow @TheBoneSeason on Twitter and RT the competition tweet. I've even signed it for you. 


I'll be posting again when I return from the States on Monday 25 February. While I'm away, I've got a question for you: what would you ask if a literary agent, if you could? My lovely agent David Godwin has agreed to do a Q&A, similar to the one I did with David Mann after the cover release. (There are an abundance of Davids in the publishing industry.) His clients include Aravind Adiga, Simon Armitage, Pippa Middleton, Ben Rice and Arundhati Roy. Send me your questions and I'll forward them to him. 

28 comments:

  1. Congrats on the proof copies! :) It must be cool to finally get to hold your book.

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    1. Thank you! It is really cool. Quite surreal.

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  2. Have great time in US, Samantha! :)

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  3. Have fun in the US! I entered the competition, but unfortunately it looks like a lot of other people did as well... hopefully there will be other competitions in the future?
    Something I'd be interested in asking an agent is:
    How close to completion does a manuscript have to be for you to take it on (in terms of edits that you think would have be made)? Would it be possible to give the answer as 'percentage complete' (unless that's too much of a simplification...)
    Thank you!

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    1. I'm sure there will be! Surprised how many RTs the competition got.

      I'll ask David that, good question.

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  4. Congratulations on the print copies! It must be so exciting. :)

    I can't believe how conflicted I feel at the moment. I have been following your Twitter anonymously for awhile. Like, back when you had about 200 or 400 followers (I know, precision is one of my strongest skills). Up until now, I have resisted the urge to recreate my Twitter handle. I am sorely tempted to now! But alas, I don't think I want anyone to think it's merely a "sock puppet" account so I'll just watch, forlornly, from a distance. That, plus the fact I live in Australia. Not sure if it's a global competition?

    Since I'm here and rambling anyway: I just wanted to let you know how much you've inspired me. I remember how I was on the train to uni, just reading some articles when I came across the story of Bloomsbury signing you up and going "Wow, she's done it at 20. What an amazingly dedicated person!". Been following you since then as the stalker the internet allows us to be, haha.

    Anyway, I'll stop turning this into a text wall! Congratulations again :)

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    1. Hello!

      Thank you for commenting – and thank you for following me all this time! I'm so pleased to have inspired you – your comment made my morning. Are you a writer yourself?

      As far as I know it is a global competition, yes – Australia is absolutely fine (particularly easy for Bloomsbury, as they have offices in Sydney) – but I'm sure there will be more giveaways and competitions as we get closer to publication. I might ask Bloomsbury if I can do a competition on my blog for those that can't use Twitter for any reason.

      Samantha x

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  5. I have serious hair envy. If I lived anywhere near you I'd want to stalk your hairdresser :O) Come to think of it, I may have makeup envy too. I don't suppose you know the name of your lipstick color? Or we could do a body swap... :P

    The preview on The Bone Season's Facebook page is amazing, but if you wanted to make it longer, I wouldn't mind ;-). I'm entered in the comp and have all my fingers and toes crossed for the first signed copy. I would love every typo like it's my own ;-).

    Yay on going to the big apple! The Bone Season will sell its fabulous self. Just tell them to read the excerpt on Facebook ;-).

    I hope school is going well & have a safe flight!

    Lacey

    P.S. For Mr Godwin: What are the most common submission mistakes made by writers? Thank you :)

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    1. Oh, thank you! I thought my hair was a bit of a mess, haha. My lipstick colour is called Starry Eyed (128) by Rimmel.

      I'm so glad you enjoyed the preview! Good luck in the competition. I was surprised how many people entered. Not sure when they're going to announce the results, hopefully soon. I'm sure there will be more excerpts up as the months go on – they're putting tiny snippets and quotes up every so often on the FB page.

      Thanks for the Q, I'll pass that on to David.

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    2. It's so much fun to watch the following of The Bone Season grow :). I was reluctant to reopen a Facebook account, but I'm so grateful I did. Who knew about all the books snippets I was missing!

      Thank you very much for divulging your lipstick color. It's fabulous :) :) :)

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  6. Really, you are a person I can look forward to in many ways..cause you did it at twenty..and I'm going to send queries soon in summers when I'm ready, so your story really helps.
    You lucky thing you! Really, I wish I could swap places with you, but with my novel, of course. :P
    Still it's wonderful to see you're heading towards your dream.
    Now you want a question, huh?
    Well, I would want to ask how is a signing contract process for a writer who lives in another country with an agent of another country? I mean how it's done, if through mail, then wouldn't it create some problems? Isn't it be difficult for the woverseas writer to promote his work, attend meetings and stuff? Please let me know the answer.

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    1. Best of luck with sending your queries! And I'll pass that on to David. Very interesting question.

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  7. Yay! I'm so excited for you! Looks cool! I entered the competition on Twitter. *fingers crossed*

    And have a great time in the States!

    I actually have quite a few questions for Mr. Godwin, if that's alright. My first one is what a person should look for in an agent when sending queries and [hopefully] signing. I know that a person will be swayed by an agent's reputation and track record and will be looking for how well they connect, but beyond that, are there any other factors that a person should look out for? Additionally, I know that while agents are looking for what is in demand in the publishing market, they also just want a well-written and appealing story. However, is there any way to know what they're looking for at any given time? Is there a way to know when it's best to send a query? Furthermore, beyond the effectiveness of a query letter and a good story, is there anything else that might win them over and make them want to represent you? Finally, if you're already represented by an agent and you want to submit another story to them after they have up your first one, what would the procedure be? Is there a specific amount of time that you have to wait or certain demands or conditions that you have to meet, or can you just do it whenever and with whatever you want?

    Thanks!

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    1. I'll pass those along to David, great questions!

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    2. Thanks! I really appreciate it! And please send Mr. Godwin my (and I suppose I speak for everyone else when I say this) gratitude, too! :)

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  8. ^Finally, if you're already represented by an agent and you want to submit another story to them after they have picked up your first one, what would the procedure be?

    Sorry typo! :(

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  9. Hi Samantha! Just followed your Twitter accounts and hope I'll win an ARC of The Bone Season (the title alone is really interesting!). Since I am an author from the Netherlands, I would very much like to know if literary agents from the UK ever take queries directly from foreign authors looking to publish their work abroad.. my own Dutch publisher is quite small and most likely doesn't have the means to actively promote my work abroad (which is why I decided to self-publish in English to get more widely-known). How does that work?
    Enjoy NY! I hope all the book stores will decide to buy your book :)

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    1. Hi Jen! Thanks for following. I know my agent definitely takes queries from abroad. I'll ask him to explain how it works.

      And thank you! x

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    2. Sounds promising... thanks for asking! :)

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  10. Hi Samantha. I'd love to know what a typical day in the life of a literary agent is like and how people fall into that field of work. Thank you. :) But I wanted to say that I am so pleased that you will be soon seeing your book in print; thank you so much for chronicling the journey of 'The Bone Season' online for us. I have been quietly following the blog via Twitter for a while and have loved keeping up with the latest thoughts and 'topics'; while reading some of your insights and ideas about writing and other things, I have often found myself nodding along in agreement. It's pretty incredible to think that you have achieved so much before finishing at university, too! Congratulations on having 'The Bone Season' accepted by Bloomsbury and I hope you enjoy the last few months at Oxford, along with publication in August. :)

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    1. Hello! Thanks for that question, I'll pass it along to David. I'm so pleased you've found the blog interesting – it's great to be able to share the journey with other people. Thank you for following! If there's anything you'd particularly like me to discuss, do let me know.

      Samantha x

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  11. you said you would talk about your RSI. I'm interested because I'm a writer and it bothers me every now and then.

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    1. Sorry, completely slipped my mind – I've got the next two weeks all set out, but I'm going to do a post on writer illnesses in a few weeks' time (probably first Sunday of March). For now, I'd recommend buying hand braces to help prevent RSI. Cod liver oil is also really good – I take a tablet once a day to keep my joints flexible. Take regular breaks when you're writing for a long time. I've heard soaking your hands in warm water and Radox can help, too.

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  12. Love the post, love the proof cover, love it all.

    I've read on numerous websites the sometimes exhaustive lists of genres that agents represent. How do they decide what they are willing to work with (experience, networking, what they enjoy, profitability, etc...)? Also, how important is proximity to an agent. If you live in an area not typically known as a publishing powerhouse, is it worth looking for an agent in such a market instead of your own? Plus, who doesn't want to know exactly what an agent looks for in a query letter?

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    1. I've already sent the Q's to David but I think he's answered most of that. Will post next week. Glad you like the proof cover!

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  13. Hello, Congrats

    Are you in talks wih publishers of releasing the book in Urdu.

    Very Excited.

    When you start writing a novel, where do you start from?

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    1. Thank you very much! Haven't had an offer from Urdu yet I'm afraid, but I'll let you know if I do.

      Hm, that's a tricky question. Depends what kind of writer you are. I'll blog about it sometime. Generally, though, start from the beginning!

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