One of the few perks of being traditionally published is the copy editor: that overqualified, underpaid schlimazel who wades through your opus and heals its wounded spelling and tortured grammar with arcane runes. To my untutored eye, it always appeared that my lovingly-honed manuscripts had been vandalized into graffitied ruination. Yet lo! from those sullied pages sprang the pristine proof copies presented for my blessing. (“Presented” – UPS dropped a large lump off on my stoop. “Blessing” – I was not to “even think of changing anything—this horse has run.”)

I published Final Assault on Amazon’s Kindle on 12/18. By Christmas the alert had come: copy errors! Horrified, I saw with new eyes: it was true! Seizing the day, I spent the next 18 hours at battle stations, minutely going through it all again. Bowed and bloody-eyed, I at last uploaded the corrected file to Amazon. (Working through the festive day, I was accused of being the Grinch who stole the family Christmas. Humbug! My Whos are the first to complain when royalties to Whoville dip.)

The book had been proofread by other eyes, but upon its return I made a few changes—nothing heavy. Then a few more, which lead to a few more. But of course I proofread all 70k words of an afternoon and then sent it on its way. (In traditional publishing, after suggested changes are made and approved, you must keep your fingers to yourself. This is good.)

Carp

I’ve since armed myself with superb, complementary editing software, PerfectIt and Editor, most recently used for The Biofab War. Deployed with MS Word’s spelling checker, they catch most crap, except for missing quotation marks. (My staff are working on that.) Editor is an especially robust application and not for the impatient, but by carefully disarming some of its features, it morphs into your picky high school English teacher—the one who returned those slapdash essays topped with a blazing “See Me!”

It’s only part mechanics: I’m very indebted to my volunteer proofreaders, who must surely have better things to do than wade through my stuff: Dale Bottrell, Tom Stronach and Shelly Kaidan-Berry.

Off to write something new for them and you to read.

Cheers