Even writers on a deadline need a break, right?
So, I’m jumping on here to talk about the very reason I have a deadline this week:
I’m reading through final pass pages for Pop the Bronze Balloon and my deadline is the end of the month. Obviously I’m cutting it kind of close. What can I say? I work best under pressure. Or, I’m a slow reader. Or, I’m a procrastinator. You decide.
But what exactly are pass pages?
Well, if you’ve had a book published, you probably already know. If not, I’m going to save you the confusion. Because when I was working on Spin the Golden Light Bulb with my editor, I received my pass pages and didn’t even know it! Apparently, editors call things different names and I remember being frantic that my editor had forgotten to send mine to me.
Here’s the story:
Upon getting my first book deal, I joined a group of 200 writers on Facebook who were all going to have their first books published in the same year, called the Electric 18s. I was so excited to be a part of the group and still am! It’s a great place share information and celebrate each other’s successes. However, in the beginning, because Spin the Golden Light Bulb was releasing in early January of our debut year, the stages of the book process happened to me (and the other January debut authors) before the others. For example, I worked on my first round of edits with my editor before many of the others had even heard from their editor.
I proceeded to work on several rounds of edits, then copy edits, then the proof copyedits. Everything was going smoothly and on schedule. Months later, I heard other authors talking about first pass pages. Some had received thick stacks of bound pages in the mail from their publishers. They posted pretty pictures of them. So, of course, I wondered when mine would come.
I waited. And waited. But they never came. I was starting to panic because well, I was a debut author after all and debut authors panic about pretty much everything!
Finally, I reached out to my editor and asked, “Am I going to get my pass pages soon? Did I miss them somehow? And what are pass pages anyway?”
She laughed—in a nice way and told me that I had already gotten and read through my pass pages! Because my publisher is small, they don’t mail out printed copies. Instead, they send everything in a digital format. And they don’t call them pass pages. They simply call it round one, two, and three.
Ohhhhh. So that big moment that some authors have, holding their bound pages in their hands—the ones that are about to become a book… well that never happened. Mine appeared on my screen. I do recall that being a big deal at the time though, because I could see the way the book would be laid out, with the bookish graphics and everything. I just didn’t realize that I wouldn’t get a physical copy to read through… that those were my pass pages. I did read through them. I did make corrections. I did have them. I was just too clueless to realize it!
To be clear, pass pages are a round of edits. Some authors get first pass, second pass, and final pass pages. Some get only two. It simply depends on the book.
As a side note…I did receive ARCs, which are the advanced reader copies. Physical copies with the cover and everything. And for me, that was my amazing moment! Seeing my book look like a book for the first time was something I will absolutely never forget. Physical pass pages as that point made no difference to me at all!
Just wanted to clear that up for those of you who may be oblivious like I was! And for the record, many publishers send pass pages digitally. The cost to print physical copies is just too much. Often authors print their own pages out, but many just review them on their computer. There is no correct way. Each publisher, editor, author, and publishing method is different. And one day, when you get your book deal, hopefully this will help you to know what to expect…and to remember that every author’s journey to publication is different. So keep your eyes on your own page and don’t worry so much about what is happening with other authors! It’s a good question to ask your editor though, when you begin working together. 🙂
Now, three books later, I’m back to work on my final pass pages for Pop the Bronze Balloon. This will be the last time I see these pages and the last chance to make them sparkle. So even though I’m not as clueless as I was the first time around, it’s still a thrill (and a pain!) to be working on them. In just over 5 months, they will have been turned into real book. My job this week is to finish reading the remaining chapters, make any last minute corrections, and send them off to be born! Ahhhh. What a surreal feeling! I hope it’s one you all get to experience eventually too!
I hope this post was useful. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it!