Talking about things

Copyedits – the new book is coming fast


Stars Uncharted

The copy edits for Stars Uncharted came back on Thursday.

By this time in the writing process Sherylyn has taken over all the editing on the book, so while she carefully works through each edit, I continue working on an early draft of the next book.

So far, she’s seeing lots of comma changes, a few missed/added words, and some questions about the timeline.

So, not too bad, so far.  We’ll see if it stays as clean as we get into it.

That’s not to say there isn’t a lot of red markup, because there is, but they’re small things, like the commas, or slight grammar issues.

We have to get the copyedits back by the end of this month, and our author portal tells us the book will be out in August next year.  It’s a long way away, but it’s also coming fast.


Passionate writing

Some of the best passionate writing comes out of things you feel strongly about. Given today’s political climate, it’s not surprising that a lot of people feel strongly about politics and prejudices.  I’d like to point to Chuck Wendig’s The Game Is Rigged as an example of some strong, powerful writing.


Some things you take for granted

Hmm. There are some things you take for granted.  I would never have expected anyone to consider Leckie’s use of pronouns anything but deliberate, but I suppose, if you hadn’t read her first books, maybe you would think they were typos.

I enjoyed Provenance, by the way, and I’m so envious of the way Leckie managed to make Ingray such a different person to Breq. The weird thing is, even though the story is nothing like—and I mean absolutely nothing like—Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor, this is the book it reminded me of.  I still can’t pick why.  Maybe it’s the hopeful tone.

5 replies on “Copyedits – the new book is coming fast”

I think you might have posted something before but going to ask my question as I can’t find it.

What are copy edits and what comes after if the book isn’t due till August?

I recently got directed to a new author who said their book has been accepted and will be out in 2019!

Apart from the actual writing of the bones does getting it from a rough finished draft to published take a long time? It’s seems to.


Copy edits are the edits for grammar, spelling, and style changes. (The publisher has a house style, which the copy editor works to.) They also look at things like continuity (making sure the timeline works), ensuring you always spell everything the same way, and so on.

The copy edits are the final changes before the book gets printed.

There can be a lot of them changes (two and a half thousand in our copy edit) but they’re mostly small things. A comma here, a word change there.

Yes, publishing can take a long time, and there can be months when you don’t have any contact with the editing team at all.

To give you some dates.

Ace accepted Stars Uncharted in October 2016. That’s when they slot the book in, and their catalogue is usually full for more than a year in advance.

We had to deliver our completed story by June 2017. (Book two is due for completion in June 2018).

In April 2017, Anne (our editor) asked for a plot outline, the first few chapters of the book, and ideas on cover art.

Mid-June, she came back to us with story edits. These are the changes you need to make the book work. Some of these changes are quite big. For us, anyway. In this book we cut at least 20,000 words out of it, and changed a couple of sub-plots.

We got the changes back to Anne by the end of July. Did a couple of small rounds of edits after that, and the book was accepted at the start of September. (Delivery and acceptance, this is called, and it’s one of the major milestones of the contract.)

Six weeks later (now), we have our copy edits, which are the grammar, and spelling, and stylistic changes. We get about two weeks to look at these.

As you can see by the dates, the publishing house works pretty far ahead.

We usually see cover copy—the blurb they put on the back of the book, and the cover itself months before the book comes out. Then, closer to the date, we get advanced reader copies.

In general, though, you don’t do a lot with that book in the last months before the book is published. You’re usually concentrating on finishing the next book. Because the next book has exactly the same lead time as this one.

Wow thanks for your detailed reply! I’ve never thought about it being that long. Guess it’s a bit like movies – you want a book to come out and not clash with another of your publications! And once things are in anything new needs to come after to allow for production time.

I’m not the only one! Provenance reminded me, too, of the Goblin Emperor, even though the worlds are completely different, and the characters are nothing alike. They taste the same, somehow. (And I want another serving of both of them.)

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