colors and copyedits

I have this conflict about paper. I love paper. The different textures, the colors, the nuances amidst the fibers. I even like the way every book seems to have its own unique smell. I have zero desire to read a book in electronic form. I look at a screen all day, thanks. Reading is supposed to be my relaxation time. That said, becoming increasingly paperless is a good thing for many reasons. You guys know I’m all about the green living. But paperless books? It will take me a long time to get there. Like, a long time.

There’s been one switch from paper to screen that I’ve already adapted to, though. With my first two books, I submitted my manuscripts in printed-out form via vintage mail. When my editor was done with line-editing, I got the manuscript back with all of her symbols and notes. I loved looking at those symbols and notes. Getting my manuscript back from the copyeditor was always a thrill. There were my copyeditor’s notes and my editor’s notes and other notes, all in different colors of colored pencils. I would pick out a colored pencil that was a different color than the ones they used (preferably purple or hot pink) and write in my responses. I still have those copyedited manuscripts. They’re like quaint relics now. Which is so weird because they’re only from like three years ago.

See, this is why I’m so thankful that I became an author when I did. I got to experience both worlds of publishing – the old world that is quickly being phased out, and the new world in which I don’t even use colored pencils anymore. Now we all use track changes in Word to communicate our edits and notes. Our comments appear in bubbles in the right margin. Bubbles are the new Post-its. Each of us has her own bubble color. The thing is, the bubble colors change from one day to the next. I am very sensitive about which color I get.

My editor sent me the copyedits for So Much Closer a few days ago. When I first opened the document, my bubble color was aqua! Aqua rules! Well no, lavender rules, but aqua is a close second. Of course I had to document the aqua (I may never get it again!):

Ultimate copyediting colors

The next time I opened the document, I got red. Still good, but not the best. Now I keep getting dark blue. Which is bumming me out, but I’m not allowed to pick my color. Supposedly. However, my skilled copyeditor has selected a lime green for herself and every time I open the document, she’s lime green. I’ll have to find out her secret.

At this point in the life of So Much Closer, I’ll only have one or two more chances to make any final changes. So I’m scrutinizing every word, every optional comma choice, everything. I’m one of those perfectionists who’s never happy with the end product. Oh, well. It’s time to get back to my dork-off with track changes in color anticipation. Lavender? Please?

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15 thoughts on “colors and copyedits

  1. I’m so, so, so excited for So Much Closer πŸ˜€
    and I totally get what you mean about the book to technology thing. What are those machines called again? One of my friends has it, she loves reading. But, i do too, and I like HAVING the book. Kind of like with CDs, i can buy singles off Itunes, but i’ll still want the cd just to have. In a non pack-ratish way. Besides, staring at a small screen all day would hurt my eyes, i can’t use my laptop for that long, or my eyes tend to hurt. >.<

    • I agree. If I looked at a screen all day for work and then looked at a screen to read at night, I don’t think I’d feel as happy with this whole living thing. And I’m the same way with CDs – I love the artwork and liner notes. Which I know you can download, but then there’s that fracking screen again.

  2. Thanks for the info on the process of copyediting today. I wondered how you submit your manuscripts to your editor, whether you print out the pages yourself and then send a hard copy to your editor when you are done a new book. The color selection is interesting.

    • The colors get even more interesting when everyone is chiming in about the same part. You’ll have red, blue, green, and yellow balloons all crowding in on each other. Still, they’re much easier to read than all the different colored-penciled notes.

  3. Electronic books are a good idea (and easier to carry…) but I agree that everything is better on paper. I love the smell of books, and when I’m in the middle of reading something I’ll hold it up and sniff it and people around me give me strange looks πŸ˜€ It’s just like with letters and email. Emails are so convenient but handwritten letters are more personal.

  4. I hope that when I’m older we don’t go completely paperless. I mean the only things I read on the computer is info for school and blogs like yours. I don’t like CDs because you don’t get to imagine the characters voice when they’re telling the story, and sometimes I don’t like the voice or the way the persons reading it. Besides I like the feel of paper between my fingers. And when I read off of a computer fir some reason it’s harder for me to imagine what’s going on in the story.
    ~Sam

    • I totally hear you on the audio book thing. The first recordings of my books were horrible. The reader might have been great for another book, but she didn’t reflect the tone of mine. Luckily, Brilliance Audio is recording all of my books with readers who actually sound like my characters! Even with a good recording, though, I wouldn’t be able to get into the story as much if I listened to it. Reading forever ❀

    • For some reason, I don’t think I’d be alright with the red bubble color. I think it would be – too dark or something! Aqua looks nice as I’m sure lavender is too. πŸ™‚
      And I have to look at a computer screen enough. I’m all about paper books!

      • I was just talking to my editor and opened the document to make one last change and I got LAVENDER! She completely understood my freak-out.
        Just wanted the record to show that lavender was had.

        • AWESOME FOR THE LAVENDER! Lavendar is a much better color. It seems tranquil and calm…relaxing. Red just seems like a big bubble of negativity. Any marks in red by teachers (at least at my school) were NEVER a good thing. If she switched from that blue pen to a red pen…you knew you were in trouble!

            • Science Teachers
              What is it with science teachers? My biology teacher from freshman year was really picky about the colors she used.
              Purple and blue markers made really thick lines where the students could see 98 or 87 or A across the room.
              Then she’d use the thin pointed markers for less great grades.
              Sometimes she used a yellow marker and when someone commented they couldn’t see their grade she replied, “I made a point that it wouldn’t be visible to everyone.” Of course, this was for the failing grades.
              I was just wondering if this is a science teacher thing since she was the only teacher I ever had that did it.

              • Re: Science Teachers
                I love her methodology! It didn’t even occur to me to use different widths and shades in that way. Totally brill on her part.
                I think science teachers are more inclined to pay attention to details (attention to detail being a major part of science). We also tend to be creative types. And interested in making class more visually appealing. So a lot of factors come into play. But I think any teacher who cares enough about these things gets into pen colors, no matter what they teach πŸ™‚

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