When the ARCs (advance reader's copies) for Sammy Keyes and the Kiss Goodbye arrived I cried (again). It just sort of hit me (again). But they arrived with the re-copy-edited manuscript, which meant that I had to quit ignoring that, although the story was already bound as a pre-book, it was not yet a book and I had work to do.
This was the first book in all the times I've been through this (seemingly endless) revision process that I received the ARCs along with the manuscript. So it set up a new process for me, without me even realizing it.
Usually, I get the manuscript and I go through all the mark-ups and weigh what's been suggested (and wonder if the comma that's been edited out wasn't one that was put in by a different copy editor during the previous go-round).
This time, I had the ARC in front of me, too, and (just for ''fun') I picked it up and started reading it. It sucked me right in! But by the end of the first chapter I'd already noticed three little things that I thought could use tweaking.
So I checked the manuscript to see if the copy editor had noticed those tweakable areas, and sure enough, there were notes by two of them. Which showed me that I wasn't just being picky. If I stumbled and she stumbled, some smoothing definitely needed to be done.
What I wound up doing, was reading a chapter of the clean version ARC (with no notes from anybody), making corrections in the ARC as I saw fit, then turning to the manuscript and going through the copy editor's notes and suggestions. There was always some overlap, plus I got the benefit of being able to read the story for flow and humor and sense (like, is it clear to whom that pronoun is referring?), without the distractions of other people's notes.
It took me over 30 books to discover it, but I really like this new process.
And I really like this book.
I know that statement will drive some of you crazy (because you're dying to read the book, not because you think I'm an egomaniac), but this book makes the series feel whole. I know I said before that I thought I should maybe stop after Sin City because I loved the way it ended, but writing Killer Cruise was very satisfying in the Sammy/dad arena, and now with Kiss Goodbye, I know it really is time.
That didn't mean I didn't cry (again) when I read the last page.
And I predict that 191 days from today, you (my beloved Sammiacs) will, too.