Here’s a post at Kill Zone Blog: The page proof nightmare
In the traditional publishing world, milestones define the production cycle of a book. You turn in the manuscript, then you get the global edit from the editor. Next come the larger structural changes and you turn those in. Copy edits are next…
The final step is the one I hate – the page proofs. That milestone is my last shot at making sure that the book is exactly what I want it to be. Did the copy edits I rejected make it through anyway? Have any other errors made it through? …
For me, this is a staggeringly stressful process. … Once I get lost in the “fictive dream” … I don’t see the little stuff. So, for the page proofs, I have to force myself to . . . Read. Every. Word. It takes forever.
I hate page proofs.
Actually . . . although I get what Gilstrap means about getting lost in the fictive dream (a very nice place to be lost imo), I enjoy page proofs.
You don’t have to try to figure out how to do a biggish change as per your editor’s advice. You don’t have to stop every second page to evaluate a copy editor’s suggestion. You can just . . . read every word. Straight through.
It’s the nearest thing to seeing your book in print that you’ll have until it’s, you know, actually in print. You probably aren’t going to read it at that point — it’s in print! Yay! But you are super familiar with it and beside, you just read the page proofs.
For me, reading the page proofs is like . . . reading a book. Sure, every now and then I’ll pause and make a little change. But mainly I turn the pages thinking, “Oh, I forgot about this scene, but it works pretty well!” and “Hey, that’s a nice sentence.” Not only that, but if a sentence isn’t nice, I can actually whip out a colored pencil and fix it so it IS a nice sentence. I wish I could do that AFTER publication too, as I’m certain to happen across things I want to change every single time I open a real copy.
By and large, for me, the reading experience is a pleasure for page proofs — the stage when it’s easiest to imagine the reader’s own reading experience. When I enjoy the page proofs, it makes me feel that yes, there’s a pretty good chance readers will enjoy the book.
Yet another example of Everyone’s Process Being Different. I just bet Gilstrap likes developmental edits better than I do.