Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Page Proofs

For so long—could it really be years of your life?—you, alone, have believed that the book is a book. Despite all evidence to the contrary—the scrawled-over manuscript pages that screamed hopeless, unfinishable pipe dream, the slippery words that you moved and added and omitted until you no longer understood their sense, and most especially the editors (a dozen, maybe more) who turned your work away, declaring it most decidedly not a book—you have continued to believe in your book’s essential bookness. The words, the paragraphs, the pages deserved to be wedded, bound together beneath a common cover. This was your stubborn, solitary belief. And though for years no one believed in your book—with the exception of a small handful of friends who share your lunacy—you kept sending it out into the world, hoping to infect someone with your lonely dream.

And one day—when, if you have to be honest, your unflagging belief had started to rub away—it happened. An editor called with good tidings. And now—now that you hold page proofs in your hands, now that a cover exists—you marvel that so many others are in agreement with you and your madness. A team—production editors, copyeditors, peer reviewers, writers of blurbs, graphic designers, marketing reps—a whole platoon, it seems, is now on your side, working to finish what you started years ago, confirming that intense, private belief you’ve kept for so long: that what you have created is a book.

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