No one who hasn’t written a book can know what it feels like to see it set up in type for the first time. Your own manuscript, however neatly printed it may be, simply isn’t the real thing. It’s homemade, and looks that way. You can edit it as painstakingly as you like, but you still don’t know what your words will sound like in your inner ear until you see the thing itself. It’s unnerving, half scary and half thrilling, to pull the proofs out of their package and start riffling through them, pretending to look for typos (and sometimes finding them) but mostly just gazing raptly at each page, feeling your half-forgotten sentences and paragraphs quiver to life….
(If it’s new to you, read the whole thing here.)