One of the changes I’ve noticed with Warner turning into Orbit is that now my CEM and page proofs come with cover sheets that explain those parts of the process in more detail. (Page proofs arrived yesterday.) I always knew changes at this stage were expensive, and that if I made too many I’d have to pay for them myself, but this time around I’ve got concrete info: the allowance for author changes is generally somewhere between $200 and $800 dollars, depending on the book, and changes cost about $1.50 a line.
Which led to me noticing something. Thanks to the way I chose to structure it, MNC has a grand total of (I think) seven hard page breaks in the text. Things like the act openings with their epigraphs get their own pages, but the narrative itself leaves white space at the end of a page only seven times — at the end of each act, plus the prologue and epilogue.
Why does this matter? Because changing at the page-proof stage has a ripple effect. If the alteration I’d like to make in the first para of the prologue shortens it by one line, that will pull a line from page 2 onto page 1, and so on back until you hit a hard page break.
Of which there are only seven in the entire book.
There are many reasons to ponder things like chapter structure — how many, how long, etc — but this is a new one by me. Building the book this way means I have to be even more economical with my page-proof-stage changes, or next thing I know they’ll have to reset the entirety of Act Four. So I’m very glad I made myself read the entire CEM out loud, to catch as many verbal infelicities as possible; now is not the time to fix broken sentences. But even so, I find myself wanting to delete two words from the first paragraph, and I have to be really careful about that.
Note to self: chapter breaks are your friend.