Winter was closing in fast. Agreement signed, schedules made, my publisher (and the head editor of Brown Paper Publishing), Juan DeCarlo (not his real name) told me my page proofs would be on their way soon.
When they finally did arrive, I was shocked at just how terrible my book was: amateurish, sophomoric, rambling, loose and wandering. So I set about not just proofing it but rewriting it. I took three weeks off and told my clients I would be unavailable until after the new year (2008). This was serious business in need of serious attention.
Juan (not his real name) and I had worked out some formatting details whose impact only now were becoming clear to me. For example, Juan (not his real name) did not believe in quotation marks, preferring the dialog to speak for itself, as it were. I bristled at this initially but when I saw the book laid out in print, I quickly changed my mind. It actually was less disruptive and made the text flow better.
We also had a minor skirmish over the size of the font. Granted, The Dog at the Signpost is a relatively lengthy book for a first novel and I understand the publisher probably wanted to cut costs. The font size is a bit small for people with astigmatisms and so forth, but it does work. It was about as small as we could get away with and still be readable.
And so, by the first week of 2008, I had completed my final rewrite of the book, having cut 14 pages or so of needless text. And I felt better about the final result. It was tightre, flowed better and a little more polished.