Second Pass Page Proofs and the End in Sight (or should I say beginning)!It doesn't seem possible that it's two months since I posted Phase 13! The momentum is now stepping up at an incredibly dramatic pace so I want to be sure to keep you in the loop! The most recent version of the first pass pages, the one where all the changes from me and the proofers were input, came back with Lillian the final proofreader's comments and marks. At the same time, 80 double spaced single column pages of index arrived, due back in a mere three days. This index will be about 15 book pages and is the best index I've ever had for any of my books as it puts entries in several categories for example a chocolate butter cake will be under chocolate cakes, butter cakes, and also under the actual name of the cake. This makes it much easier to find things. But it made it sheer hell to proof! Woody and I went through each entry to make sure it was in the proper category and the proper order and word sequence. This took hours and hours but was well worth the effort. On to the pages: Ava Wilder (dream production manager) assured me that the final proofer would find everything. Well! Not only did she find all but maybe one or two little things I had found from the last round, she found several more other ones that were quite important.
Last week I packed up the huge and heavy page proofs into a large Fed Ex envelope and because as usual, when I have to bring in pages to Wiley, it was pouring rain, I looked for a suitable water-proof bag. Rachael Scherm, editor Pam's terrific assistant, had to hang out one of the sets to dry! I found the perfect size bag that also works as a knap sack--it was from the my new Mac computer--but paranoid as ever when it comes to my manuscript, I didn't want to risk some one on the Path train thinking it was a Mac laptop and swiping it, so I pasted over the tell-tale Apple logo with several layers of masking tape (both sides of the bag--you can never be too careful). I arrived chez Ava in Hoboken and she looked at the bag and laughed, "Why did you bother? I can see it's an apple bag and I can also see there's a Fed Ex box inside!" I told her that it was a safe bet that not everyone on the Path train would be as discerning. Ava and I spent 2 hours going through the remaining changes and resolving space and design issues by cutting and rewording in a few places. Then she surprised me my bringing out the first set of color proofs for the 100+ photos. We went through each deciding on needed color corrections. Ava had seen many of the cakes when she came to the photo shoot but for those she hadn't seen she called on my memory of how true to color the photos were. Before leaving, I stopped by Gypsy Lovett's office to say hi. Gypsy's head of publicity and I've known (and loved) her since my days at William Morrow. She came up with a fabulous idea that will be a sort of preview coming up within the next month or so and I will let it be a surprise! The final set of proofs will arrive May 15 so I can check that every correction has been made and then on May 28 it's on the boat to China. Yes--it was supposed to be April 30 but great to have the extra time to ensure that every one involved has the time needed to do a perfect job. And the expression "There's always another boat" turned out to be true (well up to a point anyway). By the next day after my visit Ava had sent a choice of three end papers (the potentially decorative inside of the cover and corresponding page) and we both loved the same one--really gorgeou--and THAT'S going to be a surprise. But within days the "blad" (book layout design) is posting on the blog so you will be able to see the cover and a few pages of contents including two recipes. If you'd like to see a small photo of the cover, it's on this home page of the blog--upper right where there is a link to Amazon for preorders. The international links will be added in a few days. Chinese fortune cookie from last night was very encouraging: Your talents will be recognized and suitably rewarded. I must say I feel very rewarded indeed.