Galleys are cool at first glance, because you actually get to see the book in its final layout. It looks like a real book, instead of something that's in 12 pt. double-spaced Courier New. You're sooooooo close to having this in the hands of readers!
When you go through the galleys, you get one last chance to find any errors. But that's really all you're looking for: errors. And not "Wow, does Chapter Sixteen ever suck!" errors, but tiny errors. If you send in a completely revised version of Chapter Sixteen at the galley stage, big scary men will show up at your house with crowbars.
Now, if you find a really HUGE mistake, like a loophole in your time-travel logic that means that your heroine is making out with her great-great-great-great grandfather, they'll probably let you fix it. But otherwise, the book in galleys form is pretty much the book in published form. Which means that while I review the galleys, I will think of hundreds of new jokes that should be in there, and funnier ways to tell the jokes that are already there through the book. Suddenly I want to change EVERYTHING!!! Lines that were totally fine the first thirty-nine times I went through the book, when I could change anything I wanted, now make me want to bury my head in the sands of shame.
My favorite part of the process is the final proofreading of my manuscript before I send it off to the editor. At that point, I'm a genius...no, a super-genius! This book is AWESOME!!! Go me! I'll be putting a down payment on that gold-plated mansion any minute now! Woo-hoo!!!
This thought process changes approximately 1.7 seconds after I click "Send." Then, every previously unseen flaw in the book bursts into my brain with a force that knocks me out of my chair and through the window in my office. I can't BELIEVE I sent the publisher that garbage. I am the epitome of lameness. I wait for the inevitable e-mail response that says "Dear Jeff: WTF?"
As time passes, my opinion of the book slips to somewhere in-between the two extremes.
In theory, the worst part should be months later when I actually read the published book, because then I really can't change anything, except with a pen and a lot of bookstore visits. But I don't read the published book. Oh, sure, I lovingly cradle it, maybe stroke the spine, but I never actually re-read any of it. That would make me cry.
The More-Or-Less Official Jeff Strand Website
Jeff Strand Bio
P.S. My review of Jeff Strand’s A Bad Day For Voodoo coming soon…