Claire Palmer and Josephine Cox (l-r)
Today I'm very excited to take part in the blog tour for Josephine Cox's latest book, Lonely Girl, on the paperback publication day! To celebrate the novel's release, editor Claire Palmer has written a guest post about the editorial process.
Claire said: "One of the very best parts of my job is being one of the first people to see Jo’s books once she has finished writing them – to get the manuscript hot off the word processer, as it were! When we get the book from Jo, the first think I do is to squirrel myself away into a quiet corner of the office. Jo’s stories always makes me laugh out loud, and inevitably makes me a bit tearful at times too, and I’m not sure anyone’s buying my excuse that it must be because somebody’s chopping onions in our office…!
"Once we have read it from start to finish, the book begins its journey through a stringent editorial process. It’s so important to us that every page is perfect and does justice to Jo’s brilliant storytelling, and there are a lot of people who work tirelessly behind-the-scenes to make sure that we live up to our own high standards. Copyeditors, typesetters, proofreaders all have their role to play, and we spend many weeks and months poring over every page of the book in the form of A4 print-outs that we call ‘page proofs’. Of course, Jo’s job is the most important one as she creates the characters and writes the story, but every person along the way brings a wealth of experience and expertise to make the book the best it can possibly be.
"One of the most exciting parts for the whole team is getting to see the cover, which our brilliant designer Charlotte will talk about elsewhere on this blog tour. But nothing beats the moment when I was lucky enough to go with Jo to visit the printers at Clays and watch her books coming off the printer. We had a wonderful day and were given a real VIP reception from the whole team there – and as you can imagine, Jo herself came away having made lifelong friends with everyone who had given her such a warm welcome!
"We were given a special tour to see the book production process at every stage, from creating the ‘plates’ that are then used to print the pages of the book on huge sheets of paper, which are then folded to make a sheaf of sixteen pages, which we call a folio. All the folios are brought together in the correct page order, bound together and popped into the hardback ‘case’, which is then wrapped in the dust jacket. In this final stage of the process, when the books are standing on their spines on the binding machine, the hardcover held slightly apart from the pages of the book, it looks rather like a bird flapping its wings, and I can’t think of a better way of describing what it’s like to see the book coming off the press – after all that hard work from Jo and the whole team, it’s finally a real book, and it’s ready to take flight!"
Thanks so much, Claire, for your fascinating insights into the editorial process! Readers, make sure you check out the other stops on the blog tour as well:
Lonely Girl is published in paperback today and you can get your copy from Waterstones, Amazon or your own preferred retailer.