Book Publishing Newbie: First Pass Pages for Fall of Poppies

A week ago I received the first pass pages for my contribution to the Fall of Poppies anthology.

Cue excitement!

Until I realized I had no clue what I was supposed to be doing with this document. The editing process, I get. I think I aced the copy-edits. But First Pass…what is this foreign language thou dost speak?

The process of What Happens Next (after the snagging an agent, selling a book, yadda yadda yadda) can be so hush-hush, and the rise of self-publishing has created a downturn in author blogging about traditional publishing processes has increased the difficulty in discovering just what heck I’m supposed to be doing. But I like to think that a post from 2009 or 2011 is just as relevant in 2015, so on we march Googlefu.

According to Laini Taylor: “First pass pages are the first typeset draft of the book, printed out as proofs. These pages are exactly as they will appear in the ARC, or Advance Reading Copy, which is sent out to booksellers, librarians, reviewers, etc. At the same time that the publisher is readying the ARC to print, they/we are also going over the book in this format one last time before the final print version is arrived at. So, though this is the way reviewers will see it, it is not the final-final-final draft.”

Got it! But what I am supposed to do with them?

Pete Hautman says I’m looking at “the stage just after copyediting, when the copyedits have been incorporated into the manuscript, and the work is set in the font and layout that will appear in the final book.”

So that means I can do some light clean-up of the text, right?

Yes you can, says Alyssa Palombo (a 2015 post!): “The point of the pass pages is for the author to go through the book again and make any small changes that still need to be made, correct anything that may have been missed in copy edits, etc.”

Phew! So that sentence I cringed over while looking at this file isn’t set in stone. Hallelujah!

There you have it–a semi crash course in unfamiliar publishing terms and its process. Back to work I go!

Author: Evangeline Holland

Evangeline is a public historian who brings her academic skills to fiction, in order to fill in the gaps in the historical record. Her love for history permeates just about everything she does, going so far as to "suffer" for this love--as the bruises and stuck fingers from fencing and sewing costumes to understand life in the past firsthand can attest.

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