What Are These Terrifying Beasts Called Pass Proofs?

So, when you publish traditionally you get this thing called First Pass Proofs.

What are these diabolical little things? Well, to understand that we have to take a tiny jaunt into the copyediting and proofreading world. Grab some snacks!


A Pass

This is when you go through your story and look for all the typos and mistakes and consistency errors. and redundancies.

The Proof

It’s a verb and it’s a noun. You can say “I’m proofing this” when you are proofreading.

But also, when you get your beautiful story manuscript after the copyeditor, proofreader, regular editor, editorial assistant and King Kong have all gone through it, you have pages called a pass proof. This is what your story looks like before it goes to publication. You are to read it all and see if anyone missed anything.


The Fear

I am afraid of pass proofs. 

But they are still super cool.

Why am I afraid of them?


Well, they come after the copy edits, so even if you suddenly realize that having your main character fall in love with a bottle of ALL NATURAL SNAPPLE ICED TEA was important to the plot of the book, you can not magically make this happen now. It is too late!!!!

SnappleIs it ever really too late to make SNAPPLE an important plot choice/love interest? I doubt it. 

Yes, Snapple! It is too late. 

Why is it too late?

Well, the first pass proofs are really what the book is going to look like on the page. It’s sort of all set and ready to go. 

And that’s scary. Your book baby is ready to go off into the world of anonymous reviews and bookstore shelves, and there is nothing you can do now to toughen her up, make her street smart. She is out there on her own very very soon and you just have to pray she won’t be a train wreck and become the kind of book that the paparazzi take pictures of because she’s always forgetting to wear her underwear when she gets out of cars. 

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