Squawk Radio

Sunday, April 02, 2006


About five months before a book is on the shelves, the publisher binds the unedited page proofs, puts a cover on them, and the manuscript is suddenly a book. This is called an “advanced reading copy” (arc), and the publisher uses them to send to reviewers and key bookstores to bring in orders and start buzz about the book. If an author is lucky, she gets a few to give as prizes in her monthly contest. A very few, because arcs are expensive to make and publishers release them very reluctantly.

TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS (August) is the first book in my new contemporary series, and for months I sweated over this baby. I came up with the concept. I plotted the story (with help from my estimable plot group).I wrote the manuscript, word by word, page by page, dragging it from my brain in the slow, painful process called creation. I re-read the manuscript. I sent it to the publisher and waited with sweaty palms for the comments from my editor. (“She likes it! Thank God!”) I took her input and incorporated it into the story. I re-read the manuscript. I checked the copy editing, that horrific process wherein a stranger goes through and corrects my commas (and let me tell you, everyone’s opinions of commas differ). I re-read the manscript. Right now I have the page proofs, loose pages which show the interior of the book as it actually will appear, and I’m re-reading the story again. By the time I’m done re-reading any of my stories (and TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS is my thirtieth full-length book), the words don’t even make sense to me.

But to get to the point — yesterday I got my arcs for TROUBLE IN HIGH HEELS! A whole six of them! I have to tell you — there’s nothing quite like holding my bound book for the first time. It’s that reverent moment when I smooth the cover, flip through the pages, read the back copy and think — wow. I did it. I took an idea and made it real.

What about you? Have you done a project that you dreamed up and that took you what seemed like forever, but when you finished it you had something wonderful and unique and a part of you?
Christina Dodd, 2:56 PM