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09/18/2009 12:04 PM

Well, this made me laugh:

Last night I was sent the draft of my flap copy, for my comments. “Flap copy” is the short plot description you see on the backs of paperbacks and the inside flaps of hardcovers. Obviously, the publisher wants to make their books look good, so marketing hyperbole is out in full force.
I know there is self-interest involved, and that these are not neutral compliments, as they would be from a reviewer or peer endorsement. Still–gosh! This is what Random House (well, my editor) is saying about me!

“Emily Winslow’s stunning debut novel heralds a writer readers will relish discovering–a master stylist with an impeccable sense of how past traumas can echo deep into a person’s future…. At once a sensual and irresistible mystery and a dark meditation on the damage we all bear, The Whole World marks the beginning of a brilliant literary career for this superb, limitlessly gifted author.”

Yowza. I was actually tempted to tone it down.



09/14/2009 04:43 PM

Latest news about THE WHOLE WORLD:


The Debutante Ball is a group blog in its fourth year. Each year, five debut authors blog weekly about the milestones of that experience. I’ve been selected for the new year, and started this week. I’m “Monday.” Please check it out. And comment! I love comments 🙂


I’ve split myself into two Facebook profiles: my personal one under my married name, and my author one (“Emily Winslow”). If you haven’t friended me yet, please do so!


My supposed launch date is set as May 11 2010, though I’ve been warned that’s subject to minor change.


I recently discovered I’m being published under the imprint “Delacorte Press.” Delacorte is a subset of Bantam Dell, which is a subset of Random House. The differences between imprints have become watered-down in recent years, but Delacorte has a reputation for more “literary” books. I’m very happy.


I’ve seen the interior design for the book (which includes font choice and layout and where page numbers go, that sort of thing). THE WHOLE WORLD has five sections and an epilogue, each of which is getting a lovely full page illustration of a different Cambridge gate at its start. Gorgeous!


I can’t show you the cover yet, because there are still a few tweaks to go, but I’m very happy with it.

Covers have a big job to do: they have to be appealing (of course), readable from a distance, and communicate the genre at a glance. The main image on mine is a bicycle, which is appropriate to Cambridge and to my plot. The tone is all bluey and shadowy and mysterious, advertising it as appealing to those who enjoy mystery/suspense.

The cover artist was responsive when I said that the sidewalk looked too new and fresh–she roughed it up for me. My agent noticed that the bicycle’s front wheel was weird, and hopefully that will be fixed.


What have I been up to? The COPYEDIT. That was intense.

The copyeditor takes a colored pencil to a printout of the manuscript, and gets nitpicky all over it. I then have to accept or reject each suggested correction, like him by hand. There’s a whole weird alphabet of symbols to learn, and the magic word “STET”, which means “keep it the way it was.” I wrote that in the margins a lot!

Also, it’s my last chance to make any changes of my own at all, and even then only small ones are allowed. The basic number of pages needs to stay more or less the same. I caught two small continuity errors–phew!

I always knew this would be a tough one to copyedit, because of the narrators. With first-person narration, you don’t always keep to exact formal grammar. And two of my narrators are American, and three British. All along I’ve made very careful decisions about where the Americans have picked up British words/usages and vice versa. The choices are subtle and individual. My editor (editor-editor, not the copyeditor) went over the copyedit carefully before FedEx got it to me, and phoned me to tell me to STET all over the place. This isn’t any disrespect to the copyeditor. It’s his job to notice every single place I’ve made a technically incorrect or inconsistent choice, and then I decide whether I really, really meant it. Most of the time I did, but it’s a valuable stage to go through.

Well how about that!

Hey Maplewood friends–remember Loren Noveck? Well she works at Random House now, and is the Production Editor for THE WHOLE WORLD! She will see it through from manuscript into book.

Next Steps

After this come “galleys” then “ARCs”. Galleys are the pages all laid out just the way they will be in the real book. I will have the opportunity to proofread them, but will only be allowed to point out things that need to be “corrected” (for example something in the copyedit that didn’t make it through, or a typo added in the typesetting process) not add any new changes. If I do want to make any content changes at that stage, I will be charged for them!

ARCs are “Advance Reader Copies,” paperback versions of the book with the cover on. They will be given to reviewers, booksellers, and authors we hope will blurb the book.

May isn’t that far away, really. Thanks for enjoying the ride with me!


From “Envoy” by Billy Collins, a message to his just-published book:

"stay out as late as you like,
don't bother to call or write,
and talk to as many strangers as you can."