I know we’ve been here before on this blog, but a comment from Phil about manuscript submission prompts me to observe how fast things are changing even in the few years I’ve been involved this publishing game.
Not that long ago, sending the latest effort to the agent involved hunting round for a box to hold 400+ sheets of paper, lots of Sellotape and a chance to queue in the Post Office. Usually a stamped addressed postcard went in with it, so she could confirm it had arrived.
Even as recently as the second Ruso novel, the American editor pencilled her comments on the paper copy and sent them across the Atlantic by FedEx.
Not any more. There was some paper about for the third book, but much of the copy editing was done on-screen, with little red and green notes and comments appearing around the typing. All slightly embarrassing, as it recorded every change of mind.
The first draft of Ruso 4 (including three chapters that are still just notes) has now reached the agent by email. She’ll be going through it on her journey to work. Not on paper, but on her e-reader. I’ll be using the breathing space to do all the other stuff one does at this time of year, but in case there are a few quiet moments I’ve just downloaded ‘A Christmas Carol’ to read on my phone.
For someone who spends much of the day imagining the year 120, where every document had to be copied by hand and no letter could travel faster than the courier’s horse, it’s all rather hard to believe.