For the longest time, Spoiled existed for us in our heads and on Microsoft Word — page after white page, sometimes single-spaced, eventually double-spaced, Times New Roman 12-point font. (Confession: I am a nerd, and therefore in order to like what I’m typing, I have to like the font in which I’m typing. So I’d click around and write in different ones, although I always came back to Times New Roman. I was a font adulteress, and it was my cuckolded typeface, probably aware of my actions but willing to ignore them as long as I came home to it at night.)
We had a hard time imagining how Spoiled would look once it was, you know, real. it’s our first book, so the transition from a digital document to a tangible one felt so foreign to us. How many Word pages equal one book page? What would the font be? How would it feel to see the words we knew so well, almost to the point of fatigue, printed and spaced and aligned differently than we’d ever seen them before?
Then we got the official copy-edited proofs, tied up neatly by two rubber bands, printed on single-sided pages. More than 300 of them — and in the end, it worked out to be roughly 1-to-1 in terms of Word pages to book pages, which I didn’t expect. A Word page seems to much more vast and glaring and hard to fill. The book pages seem compact, pert, efficient. Like a SmartCar, but less dopey-looking.
And faster. Some days, proofing this thing felt infinite, as if scrolling down every page was a workout for my mouse finger. I can’t count the number of times we read, re-read, noodled, and tinkered with chapter one. Since it’s by definition the first one, it always got us at our freshest, our most committed, and also our most finicky. That poor chapter. Its life was a very twisty Big Brother episode. Just as the words finally got comfortable sitting next to each other, we’d evict one of them and replace it with a new contestant.
Seeing everything printed out felt big, and not just because the stack was the size of at least one full ream of paper. No, it just made Spoiled’s existence that much less theoretical. The font is crisp, clean, pretty. The style of the chapter headings evokes Gossip Girl a bit (which makes sense; we share a publisher). My name, and Jess’s, are right there on the paper cover. Holding the actual hardback book in my hands is going to be pretty emotional — we poured a lot of ourselves into this, our first novel — but this messy doorstop holds a special place in my heart as being the first time I really felt like, wow, this thing we’ve been typing, these 81,000 words we wrote in six months… they will be read. And I smiled.
Right before I got nauseated. Because, oh my God, they will be read.