Proofreading the hardcover Servant of the Dragon?

Why is the hardcover edition of Servant of the Dragon so poorly proofread?

This is a sore subject with me. I did three drafts of the novel (as usual). My friend Dan Breen read each section after I’d gone over it the first time, and my wife read the final typescript. By the time I sent electronic copy to my Tor editor (whom I won’t name here) it was very clean.

Tor ran off hardcopy, which went to Terry McGarry for copyedit. Terry did her usual excellent job on it. The copyedited mss was sent to me for a final proofing. I returned it.

My editor should then have sent the electronic copy to the production department, along with the copyedited hardcopy for final corrections. Instead he sent only the hardcopy. (He later assured me that the Tor production department wasn’t set up to accept electronic copy. This statement is untrue and utterly amazed the production manager when I repeated it to him.)

The production department reset the whole manuscript of over 200,000 words. There were fewer errors than I would have expected in such a process, but there were lots of errors. I went ballistic when I got the proofs, but I buckled down and made all the corrections I could and sent them back.

The production department then lost the corrections. Nobody at Tor is sure how this happened. The book as published is as typeset, without proofing.

I didn’t realize how bad it was (I assumed they’d entered my corrections, which I knew couldn’t be complete) until the volume of complaints from both friends and total strangers caused me to look at the text. I found things that I knew I’d corrected (for example, ‘a field of barely’ in place of ‘a field of barley’) that were wrong in the printed version. At this point I wrote the publisher instead of making another attempt to go through editorial. The paperback is largely corrected, in part due to the efforts of two long-time friends, Sharon Pigott and Rick LaBach. (Sharon read the galleys on my first book as well, many years ago.) For Mistress, the new head of production and I made sure she got electronic copy to work from and produced it accurately.

This is one I feel bad about. But I swear to goodness, it wasn’t my fault.

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