Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Comb-Binding Day

The newest novel, inspired by last summer's trip through Canada, has reached that point where I have to turn it over to other eyes.  Over the years, I have collected a little list of people who I trust to read my half-finished work and tell me what needs to be better.  Ages ago it was just Mac, a guy at work.  He put up with reading a box full of loose papers a couple of times, but his suggestions led me to better ways of producing first-reader copies.  Several novels were mailed out in those flat-rate post office envelopes over the years in a special format I had devised.  This time the format has changed again.

Today, my laser printer has been churning nearly non-stop for hours, consuming reams of paper and a new toner cartridge, as I printed the new novel out in a galley-like format, with the text layout very nearly what it will be on the 6x9 trade paperback, but printed centered on 8.5 x 11 paper.  I take the stack of double-sided printouts and comb bind them, and then stuff them with a return envelope into the mailing envelopes.  In the morning, I'll drop them off at the post office and try to think about some other project for a while.

Getting the suggestions back is always an experience.  I can't take all the advice, but so much of it is dead-on.  Some of the readers are new this time, but many of have been with me in this process for years.  You can read their names in the acknowledgement section in the beginning of the book.  And one of those envelopes is addressed to Mac.

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