Bring Back Reading with Ripa--Stalking Kelly Ripa

Okay, we're not really stalking her (please don't call the FBI), but this blog was born out of the frustration of trying to get our books NOTICED when there is a sea of books published every year. If you can't change it, at least you can laugh about it....

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Dear Kelly,

Natalie and I are starting to think that maybe you aren't paying attention to us. Sure, we understand, really we do.

It's just that we're authors, you know—creative types, and so we're a little insecure…

Which naturally leads to Natalie and I (I blame Natalie) cooking up some new ideas to get your attention. Not to worry—it's all good stuff. You know, like asking our blog readers to submit photos of hot guys. Wait, hold on, Natalie's yelling at me.

What? We're not doing Kelly's Hot Guys? No?

Oh, all right. Natalie is saying no to the pictures. Frankly, I think it's because Natalie has all the hot guys locked in her basement. In fact—have you seen the TV show DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES? I've heard rumors that Natalie is the inspiration behind a few of those characters.

But back to the blog. So Kelly, my point is that we believe you are a valuable asset to readers out there, and we're thinking we might be doing a little Blog Overhaul to keep things interesting. After all, Oprah is bringing back her Contemporary Book Club, and we all know that Oprah's choices can be a little….depressing.

We need Reading with Ripa to bring joy back to reading!

(Don't worry, I'll work on getting Natalie to relent on the Kelly's Hot Guys!)

Kelly, now that I have your attention, I have another question. Do you watch your finished work?

I don't read my published books. I've been thinking about this because I'm doing page proofs for my book that is coming out in February, TRHILLED TO DEATH. Page proofs are the final version of the book before it goes to the printers—it's my last chance to make corrections.

But there's no rewriting. No revising. No tweaking. I can only correct things like spelling, grammar, punctuation and the odd word that mysteriously gets dropped or added. I always hate the book at this point because I can't change things. I'm using the critical side of my brain to catch mistakes, but I'm not allowed to fix weak sentences, or poor word choices or flat out bad writing.

The critical side of my brain won't be constrained by those stupid rules. It sees everything.

"You used the same word twice in the same paragraph!"

"Quit using the word "just:!"

"That's a weak sentence, or confusing sentence, or passive sentence…"

But I have to ignore all that. And by the time I'm half way through the page proofs, I'm convinced the book is bad.

As in embarrassingly, career ending, awful.

Thankfully, by the time I get to the end of the book, I'm usually feeling somewhat better. But if I'm that neurotic reading the page proofs, what would it be like to read the actual book and find a misspelled word…?

Okay, since I've given you the possible news of a Blog Revamp, promised to try and convince Natalie to post occasional pictures of hot guys (for research of course) and asked you my important question, I think I'll send this off and hide so Natalie can't find me!



  • At 7:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Did you mean Oprah or Opera?

  • At 9:28 AM, Blogger Jennifer said…

    Sigh...I meant Oprah.

    Hard to believe I'm a writer, isn't it? Thank God for copy editors!

    Now if Natalie would stop distracting me with her Hot Guys in the Basement, maybe I could actually proof read my posts!


  • At 2:08 PM, Blogger Rob Gregory Browne said…

    Oh, Jeez, I can't wait until I get to the copy editing stage. I can't read a single page without wanting to rearrange a sentence.

    So what do you do to keep yourself from getting truly sick of your book? I was sick of mine before I even sold it.

  • At 9:42 AM, Blogger Jennifer said…

    Hi Rob,

    I am sick of my books by the time I send it off. But you know, a funny thing happens when my editor calls with her thoughts on the book--hearing someone else's take on the characters, plot, theme, conflicts--it tends to revitalizie my interest. I get excited and ready to tackle any problems that she catches.

    But copy edits can be mind numbing. I usually try to break it up into 50 page chunks at one time. That's about the most I can concentrate on without a break.

    And hey, huge congrats on your sale!


  • At 10:28 AM, Blogger Rob Gregory Browne said…

    Thanks, Jen. So, tell me, in your experience, how wise is it to ignore some of your copy editor's corrections?

  • At 7:29 PM, Blogger Jennifer said…


    That's a hard one. First, I never ignore my editor's suggestions. When she makes a suggestion, I listen and seriously consider it. So far, my editor has been dead on in her suggestions. I have a great deal of respect for her.

    But the copy editor, that's a different thing. It depends on the copy editor. I've had really good ones where I accept everything they change, except for the things they simply can't know. For instance we have a border check in San Diego/Temecula California area that is not an actual border to Mexico. The copy editor tried to change that. She had no way of knowing, so I crossed off her change, BUT her action made me realize that not everyone would know about it, so I explained it better in the book.

    I've had copy editors that were just plain wrong. When I'm 100% certain, I cross off her change. When I'm not sure, I email my editor and ask her. She always responds quickly--but she may be unusual in that.

    Hope that helps.

  • At 12:37 PM, Blogger Rob Gregory Browne said…

    It does help. But I'm also concerned that, while the copy editor's changes might be "technically" correct, they ruin the flow of the sentence or paragraph.

    Because I write so internally, from the character's point of view, there are sometimes narrative passages that might make a copy editor cringe.

    Anyway, I guess I'll knew in a few months.


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