The Fun of Proofs

Sometimes it can seem funny how a kids’ book gets put together. An editor gives you an assignment with word count, style guidelines, and so on. Then you’re off to the races…frantically gathering information from as many sources as you can find. Being a child of the 1970s, I love inter-library loaning a huge stack of books as a way to get information and inspiration. The internet can be super-helpful too, of course, but there is something magical about leafing through the pages of a real book. Earlier this spring I was thrilled when a research librarian was able to get in a first edition book about British Goblins — even signed by the author.

Months, or sometimes even years later, an email arrives saying that it’s time to look at the proofs for your work. It can seem like a foreign entity to you if the wait is long enough. But I am always grateful to see how the editors, layout and design team take a Word file and turn it into a thing of beauty. Photos that match the text I wrote? Cool. Illustrations an artist created especially for my story? Awesome. And while it may be embarrassing to admit, I also get excited to see my name on whatever design of cover has been chosen for my work.

Recently, I have seen my name in close proximity to a coffin for my vampires book, below a man having his head drilled for a book on bizarre medicine, and nearby a group of freaky-looking goblins for a mythology book.

Vampire book cover Cairo, Camels, and Chaos cover

Some authors may dread the proofs but not me. Bring them on!