I have just received a galley of my new book, School of the Dead, which will be published next year by HarperCollins. The term galley is a 17th century word, from the French, galée, which, as the OED has it, is “an oblong tray of brass, wood, or zinc, to which the [printer’s] type is transferred from the composing-stick.” That tray was used to print the book.
It used to be that the galley of a new book was like a long role of paper, more suited to a Roman scroll than a book as we know it. Nowadays, a galley, when received, is closer in form to a modern book.
By the way, you’re the first to see this new cover, revealed here. What do you think?
I am asked to read the galley, and catch any mistakes, glitches, typos that have crept into this, the first printed version of the text. I will be only one of a number of people who will do so. I may, or may not find mistakes. Sometimes big errors are found in a galley, sometimes no errors at all. One needs to check.
This particular book has at times felt as if it was begun in the 17th century. No book of mine has had a more complicated publishing history: It has been ignored, rejected, and accepted, at various stages and multiple times during its creation, with even a lawyer thrown into the mix. A publisher once told me it takes about forty people to help create a published book. This book seems to have had a whole lot more. I had to rework my complex plot multi-times so as to make it clear, plausible, its timeline consistent, but beyond all else, fun to read—a different tale of/for Halloween.
Yet, here it is, very close to finished form. I’m told that the advance reading copy will be available at the forthcoming NCTE conference in Minneapolis come November. Publication is slated for late spring, 2016.
Of course, the history of the making of the book means nothing to most readers. The goal is simply to have them enjoy a spooky, suspenseful story.
The School of the Dead: I am looking forward to reading it for the first time—in print.