More than a month before scheduled publication day of August 9, several copies of SHEP’S ARMY in galleys have shown up for sale—on ebay.com and at Manhattan’s Strand Books Store. (Maybe other places!?) The “galleys” superficially appear much like a finished book except for the yellow banner across the top of the front cover and across the bottom of the back cover stating: UNCORRECTED GALLEYS—NOT FOR SALE. Despite this, people have presented these galleys for sale, and others have bought them. (I recognize that this is not some major tragedy or unprecedented—it just gives me the opportunity to discuss some of the ways that uncorrected galleys of Shep’s Army are not the same as the glorious, published book!)
To get the obvious out of the way first, unpublished galleys are for the purpose of the publisher getting some advance material out to potential reviewers, and for a final check for possible items that might require adjustments by author and publisher. These pre-publication offsprings, that have not yet been brought to full term, present the notion that these free copies will not be sold. Any sales don’t remunerate the author or publisher a penny. And they include material deemed inferior to what’s intended, so the buyer, gaining a lead on other eager readers, may well miss out and be misinformed in some ways.
The final front cover, with its stronger type colors
is superior to the galleys cover.
(Click on images for bigger views)
The published back cover includes information not on the uncorrected galleys. Importantly, near the top, text states that Shep’s army stories therein have never before been published, clarifying what might be a question for some shepaholics. In addition, Shep-enthusiast Dee Snider of Twisted Sister, having received the advanced galleys version, gives his laudatory opinion of the entire enterprise. (Thank you, Dee!)
Inside the front cover and on the back cover are some accolades for Shepherd. The galleys contained a statement that repeats a nearly universal misunderstanding of what Marshall McLuhan had written about Shepherd—the published book removes this error from the beginning of that quote.
The Keith Olbermann foreword (for which the publisher and I are very grateful to this long-time Shep-enthusiast) suggested, to my mind and to that of my keen-eyed cousin/personal-editor, a comment about the stories that might have confused some inattentive readers. A small change for the published book, approved by Olbermann, satisfies our concerns. One comment in the foreword says “Shep would have found these spirited transcriptions of his army stories also got it ‘exactly right’!”
Naturally some small typos and other minor matters that would trip up the unwary galleys-reader, have been fixed.
Of major concern to me, upon reading the galleys, was my introduction to PART 4 of the final group of stories. This major, concluding section, containing a miscellany of stories, ends with Shepherd’s final army days in a separation center. I found my intro woefully inadequate. Don’t know what I was thinking. My bad! Fortunately, the publisher allowed me time to insert a longer and much better way of putting things. Unfortunate galleys-readers miss out on this improved, PART 4 intro.
Those mini-slip-ups avoided, life feels so much better now.
Onward toward publication day!