My new zombie novel, Zombie Rebellion, is scheduled to be released on June 3 by Samhain Horror, the publisher that produced Zombies of Byzantium in 2013. After revealing the awesome cover of the new book last weekend I promised to give you some updates as publication time approaches, and here’s the first one.
I’ve spent a fair amount of time the last two days on copy edits. Basically the process is this: a copy editor at Samhain Publishing goes through the manuscript, making minor changes and noting issues, specifically with continuity, logic errors, that sort of thing. My editor also takes a pass through. Then the manuscript is sent back to me to address the various issues and make changes. Fortunately the “surgery” required on Zombie Rebellion is pretty minor, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t tricky.
The copy editor is to a book the equivalent of what a script supervisor or continuity technician is on a movie. For example, if I say on page 92 that a character has just fired his musket at an attacking zombie, and then he fires again on page 94 with no mention of having reloaded, the copy editor will flag that with a little comment. The comments appear as blue bubbles on the side of the page. I’ve been clicking blue bubbles the last 2 days.
An example of the sort of “action item” presented to me by the copy editor.
The biggest problem so far is a logistical issue in Chapter 4. In the story, which takes place in western Pennsylvania in 1794 during the Whiskey Rebellion, two characters have been riding through the forest and make camp for the night. While at this camp they’re attacked by zombies. Due to requirements of the plot, I need to have the characters’ horses and weapons taken from them before the zombie attack occurs. The copy editor spangled chapter 4 with blue bubbles, comments to the effect of, “Why wouldn’t they sleep under their carriage for safety?” and “Why would [character] be dumb enough to leave his musket in his saddlebag and walk away from his horse, especially if he knows there are zombies out there?” The fixes to these problems are often simple but you have to find the right one. If a character has to lose his musket, maybe instead of leaving it carelessly around and it gets stolen, he fires it and it explodes, or something to that effect. You have to kind of think on your feet when dealing with these things.
I don’t know if I have the same copy editor that I did for Zombies of Byzantium, but the one I’ve got is extremely thorough. Maddening though some of the dilemmas she brings up can be, I’m reluctant to ignore any of them. The copy editor is a force not to be trifled with!
As we get closer to the publication of Zombie Rebellion I’ll have more updates. Hope you’re looking forward to publication as much as I am!