Here’s the letter you get when your novel is at the starting gate

This email was waiting for me this morning, from one of the production people at Berkley (actually now Penguin/Random House — who can keep up with the mergers and splits in publishing? Not me.) It gives you a sense of how things work, when you come down to it. Note that I haven’t edited out the serious tone or admonitions.  This is my tenth go-round, and it still makes me nervous.

Subject: The Gilded Hour for author review

Here for your review is the fully edited manuscript for THE GILDED HOUR, as well as additional style sheets for your reference.

Please read through it carefully, noting the changes, comments, and corrections. Track changes is already turned on and the file has been protected. You will not be able to “accept” or “reject” changes, so if you want to stet anything you can either retype the words as you want them or insert a comment telling us what to stet. We ask that you please respond to all queries and please do not change or delete any of the copyeditor’s comments.

Please note: this is your last opportunity to make editorial changes to the manuscript. The next time you see the book it will be in the form of typeset page proofs (“galleys”) that you will read for proofreading purposes only. We can only correct typos, grammatical errors and production errors at that stage. We cannot accommodate editorial changes, so it is important that you review these copyedits carefully and ensure that you are happy with the manuscript you return.

The managing editor asked that I have the manuscript back by 3/25. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

At this stage I pull up this graphic which helps me hold on to perspective: