The Summer King – first proofs

You’ll have to excuse me if the NaPoWriMo post for day 9 is delayed. The proof copy of my first collection, The Summer King, arrived today!

I was so nervous, I actually put it down and picked it up a couple of times before opening it. (Correction: before my friends demanded that I stop mucking around and open the damn thing.) All the usual worries – what if I don’t like it, what if it there are heaps of errors, what if [supply own version]. My main concern was because of length – Otago use 60 pages as their standard length, and there had been discussion of how many and which poems may need to be cut. So when my editor emailed me to say it was on the way and that designer Sarah Maxey had managed to fit them all in, I was worried that they must be crammed in tightly, or two to a page, or … hence my attack or nerves when it came to the crunch. (Yes, I know I’m talking in clichés.)

I’ve wondered for a long time what this moment would feel like. When I signed the publishing contract I was sent a publication schedule, so I knew roughly what to expect and when. But not how it would feel. And I’m not sure I really know, even now.

The text is beautiful. They’ve added extra space, and the font is gorgeous – my guess would be something like Garamond or Palatino, but very fine. Delicate but firm, if that makes any sense. There are a couple of things I’m not entirely sure about, so this weekend will be the sit-down obsessive-session.

The cover is still being designed, so that’s the thing I’m really holding my breath about. It’ll be great, I sure. But will I like it? (I have weird tastes.)

One of the strangest things is seeing the connections between the poems. I spent so long going over absolutely everything before I submitted it with my thesis at Glamorgan. I did a very small amount of tweaking afterwards (added one poem, changed the order of a couple), and then one last-minute tweak as I was printing it up to send to the Kathleen Grattan Award. But I didn’t ever really get to know the poems as poems in their own right – so much baggage, so many hopes, so much fretting. It feels a bit like seeing them through someone else’s eyes. And I did a pretty good job!

It feels so strange. Real. But I’m too superstitious to let myself feel completely happy until I’ve seen the cover. (I swear, Murphy has a direct feed from my brain.)

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One thought on “The Summer King – first proofs

  1. How exciting! I’m feeling quite excited for you. 60 pages seems very short to me, so I’m pleased they managed to fit everything you wanted in, and make it look spacious. There is something about seeing your work in a different format – whether it be proofs or published online – that can make it seem more separate from yourself. It’s really good to be able to read your own work with a bit more distance. And it’s especially good when you discover, as you did, that you really like it!

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