September 28th, 2010

Ring out the bells, for The Heroes is finished!

Well, not entirely finished, of course.  I still need to proof-read it once it’s been typeset, its maps need to be checked over and perhaps corrected a little, and the promotional efforts of blogging, interviewing, talking about it and reading from it will no doubt go on well into next year, in the happy event that people actually want to hear about it, of course. 

But the copy-edit is finished, and returned.  For those unfamiliar, the copy-edit is the final stage of editing, usually carried out by a freelance copy-editor (also sometimes called a desk-editor).  As well as furnishing a new set of eyes which will hopefully be peeled for any egregious mistakes in timing or geography that I or my editor have missed in our own revising in a can’t-see-the-forest-for-the-trees sort of a way, the copy-editor is looking closely at the details.  Shifting commas about.  Standardising capitalisation.  Ensuring chainmail doesn’t turn into chain mail or chain-mail in the middle of a scene. Making sure which and that are used in their proper places.  Sounds pedantic, and I guess it is in a way, but it’s amazing how often a shifted comma or a changed word order will make better sense of a sentence that I realise has always somehow bothered me just a little, without being able to totally put my finger on why.  Perhaps you’re thinking a professional writer should know where to put his commas to best effect, to which I can only reply that I am a maverick creative, the words my paint and the paper my canvas, above such petty concerns as hyphens and which/that confusion.  Or maybe I’m just lucky to have a good copy-editor…

Anyway, with this phase complete, the actual words are finished.  As you will see them in the final book.  More or less.  The irony is that people are already reading the un copy-edited version in the form of proofs.  I daresay the first eager reviews will appear in the next few days.  Can you stand the suspense?  Can you?  CAN YOU?  Well, yeah, thinking about it, you probably can.  I’m pretty nervous, though…

Posted in news, process by Joe Abercrombie on September 28th, 2010.

19 comments so far

  • Khan says:

    Congratulations, and about time too!

    Seriously though, release it earlier as I can’t wait any longer, or send me a copy of the un-copy edited version so I can check for spelling mistakes.

  • Chris Upton says:

    Another one!? Sorta becoming the anti GRRM I see.

  • Mark C says:

    You mean to tell me that I’ve ordered a book which, sorry, that has not even been checked for spelling mistakes? Sheeesh!

  • Dan says:

    Congrats. And for the record, No, I can’t stand the suspense!

  • I’m really looking forward to reading this when it comes out next year. It sounds quite different from the others and also like it was a bit of a challenge for you to write it. And thanks for letting us know about all the different stages a book goes through, we normally never hear about this part of the process.

  • Tobi A says:

    This has nothing to do you the book (though I am happy that it’s done, it means we’re closer to the release date), but do you have any idea of where Scott Lynch is by any chance?

    I have no idea of whether you two actually talk but you were in the anthology together so here’s to hoping. I know he was going through some really personal things and I just want to make sure he’s okay seeing as he hasn’t updated his twitter page or livejournal in months.
    It’d be a tragedy to lose such a brilliant writer especially when he still has a great future ahead of him with the rest of books.

    Thank you.

  • Matt says:

    …Maybe Joe got tired of being always mentioned in the same breath as Lynch and did away with him. :p

    (Love Lynch too, Republic of Thieves is my third most anticipated book after The Heroes and A Dance With Dragons.)

    Anyway, was wondering why exactly the book is being published in February. Is that a conscious decision to skip the holiday season? Seems to me they could hurry your book up and let us buy it as Christmas gifts if it’s basically done now. Wouldn’t that be better for sales, or are they concerned The Heroes will get lost in the madness that is the holidays.

  • Matt says:

    Sorry, meant January not February. Same idea though 😉

  • Joe Abercrombie says:

    Mark C,
    Well it will have been checked by the time you get it…

    My wife’s reading it at the moment and one of her comments has been that it has a different feel to the other books. Be very interesting to see what people make of it, as ever…

    Not in touch with Scott myself, and I probably know less about where he’s at than some of the better informed bloggers out there. Last I heard he was pretty close to finishing the book, but don’t quote me on that.

    Christmas and the lead up to it is the zone of death for all but the biggest authors. All of your publisher’s resources and attention are going into promoting their biggest titles of the year, so if I was released around then my book would barely be visible. Much less going on in January, so more attention and resources, and better exposure in bookshops, plus much better chance of hitting bestseller lists in the absence of other bigger releases. But there’s also a sensible lenght of production schedule that gives everyone time to typeset and correct properly, get proofs to the right booksellers and reviewers in good time, build excitement within the publisher and get key accounts like amazon and waterstones on board and properly supporting, stack up pre-orders, and ensure distribution is all working properly. Any faster would be compromising on some of these key areas.

  • One thing the copy-editor will do is make sure that there’s only one space after periods, instead of two. I, frankly, find to be one of the most important fixes there is, but I’ve yet to have anyone see eye-to-eye to me on it.

    Either I’m an anal-retentive OCD nutjob, or most writers are unapologetic degenerates for not unlearning what they were taught in school 20 years ago. Hmmmm . . .

  • Elfy says:

    Very much looking forward to this. Of course it coming out in January means I have to spend the rest of the year reading stuff that cannot possibly compare to the greatness that is Joe Abercrombie.

  • Sedulo says:

    The suspense is fun…for the readers! The excerpt seemed like a screenplay to me. I was getting dizzy from the swooping and changing POVs. Delightful, an amuse bouche.

  • Khan says:

    Snubbed eh? Ouch.

    Guess I’ll have to buy a copy without spelling mistakes.

  • jag says:

    Looking forward to this – I’ve really enjoyed your previous titles. Congrats on getting through the strenuous process of editing.

  • Bryce says:

    Good stuff, looking forward to some great action and laugh out loud lines,( you do mean the laugh out moments don’t you?)


  • simon says:

    great news on the book. i for one am thoroughly excited about getting to grips with all the new (and old) characters and cant wait to see what they will be getting up to!

    all the best
    a fan

  • Dan says:

    So Joe, now that it’s done, have you started to think about/plan your next book?? Can you tell us anything?

  • Phil N says:

    Just read the first review over on The Wertzone site. Looks very promising.

  • Chris Upton says:

    This really is the most exciting news since David Gemmell tried to throttle Lary Niven!

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