We are in receipt of the galleys, which you were kind enough to overnight along with a cute little blue pencil, for us to use in making our corrections.
We didn’t think there would be so many, but boy howdy, there sure were some!
That little blue pencil got a workout, just as the three red pencils did, which you sent us first time around with the copy-edited MS.
We’re noticing an interesting trend in the errors, though: Things which we penciled in last time tend to have been mistaken by the typesetter, and resulted in unfortunate errors. The word “pallor,” which we hand-wrote in last time, is now “pallar,” which is not a word. The word “world” is now “worll,” which isn’t a word.
We sure will try to improve our handwriting for the next pass, believe you us!
Funnily enough, the large chunks of text which we added last time, and which were so large that you thought it best that we send them to you as electronic files—those, miraculously, were inserted into the text without any errors at all.
Our computer must write more neatly than we do!
We know we’re just the authors and don’t know much about running large, multinational corporations, but you guys should maybe think about using computers more often.
Back in the day, when I worked at one of my first magazine jobs, they had a “text processing system” that allowed all editors and writers to access a particular piece of copy and input changes. The screen was small and green, and if you touched the leg of its metal stand to another piece of metal in your office, the terminal would go down and you’d have to cross your fingers and hope you didn’t lose anything. But they were quite handy devices, and when I went back to college in the fall, all us journo students would sit around talking about the sweet “tubes”—as in cathode ray tubes—we’d worked on during our summer internships.
But that was a while ago, and we know that technology is probably obsolete by now. Maybe nothing has come along that would allow one person to access a file on a company’s “server,” input corrections, save the whole thing and pass it on to the next person in the queue. Maybe that is why you are sticking with the old system of mailing 500-page, one-of-a-kind documents in airplanes, rubber-banded together with blue or red pencils. Minus the airplane, that system has probably served you well. Poe used it. So did Dickens, I bet. And Austen.
So we guess if it worked for them, it’s darn fine with us. What do we know? We’re just the authors. We just hope you guys are writing off the expenses of all these flying pencils. Between Xeroxes and FedExes, this one book has cost us about $180 so far, but who’s counting? We’ll deduct it on our taxes. You probably will, too, but we’re not the ones selling oodles of copies of Moby Dick and Great Expectations to libraries and schools every year. So maybe you have oodles to burn.
So look for the MS. It should be there, like, tomorrow. Except for the pencils. We kept the pencils. If you need them back, just let us know and will overnight them.