The proofs of the book arrived Saturday, just as Joanna had said they would. And good to her word, she extended our deadline so we still have about a month to turn them around.
There's not all that much editing -- mostly questions to us about phrases that don't quite make sense or ideas that don't logically follow. A few of them will require trips to the library to review sources, but mostly I think we'll be able to work them out from existing notes.
We've been asked not to make changes that alter the page-count if possible, which seems like a sensible request. Georg mentioned that when he worked for Raven that was a problem, authors trying to add entire new paragraphs when they should only be copy-editing. I do have a couple of "notes on sources" to add, but since these are proofs of the finished pages, I can get a sense of how much room I've got & not write a huge note if there's only space for a couple of lines.
Also, it's really exciting to see the pages all laid out like they're going to be in the finished book. I remember when the contract was signed, asking my friend Judith when (if) it would start to feel real. She said there was no single milestone -- yesterday "unreal," today "real" -- but rather a series of small steps, each one making her book seem a little more concrete. Until finally she realized that it was real, an actual book, and it had been for some time, and she couldn't put her finger on when exactly the transformation had occured.
That's about how it went for me. A year ago it felt so strange and unreal. I felt like it was all due to good luck and I couldn't pretend to be a real author. I actually told a job interviewer that it was no big deal, just my little art project that I somehow convinced a publisher to accept!
Well, I still think that good luck had a whole lot to do with it, but at least it's easier now to accept the idea of being published. Just as Judith said, every little step -- turning in the manuscript, the box cover, the card art -- has made the deck seem a little more real. Now it seems almost normal to get a box full of pages from our publisher & see what our book is going to look like. And the weird thing is that it's not weird.