According to the editor, if we agree this version it will go out. Good news, but unfortunately this is where first novel nerves become a problem. I'm doing a final proof and re-read to make sure it is in the best possible shape before release.
Catching two typos that have survived the rounds of re-reads is not unexpected. However, sentences and scenes that have been in since the first version suddenly no longer make sense to me. I find myself second-guessing sentences as simple as "Hello." and wondering 'who said that?' or 'why does that happen?' about the most trivial items, while redoing research that I did for the very first draft.
The problem is that with non-fiction the problem of artistic licence does not arise as everything is factual and cited. With fiction you have to decide what facts to leave out or gloss over, because essential as it is, it would bore or distract the reader. With my other fiction work, it has largely been giving directions for others to interpret, and when I have occassionally self-published the buck begins and ends with me. With this book, there is a publisher prepared to trust my judgement and put their funds and effort behind it, and for some reason having other people relying on my untried skill as a novelist worries me. At least I know that they think the story is good, or it would never have got this far.
Unfortunately this does not particularly help with nerves, and a sudden and unexpected lack of confidence. When you find yourself thinking that you should take a bound galley to the people who helped with research to check if they really want their name on it (with thanks), that is a genuine confidence crisis. Fortunately it can be overcome by common sense.
What has thrown me is that I have been working towards this for years now, and suddenly it seems to be happening very, very, quickly. When you've been told the editorial process should take 6-8 months and instead it takes 6-8 weeks, things seem to be moving incredibly fast.
On the internationalisation front I have given up trying to make it perfect. Instead there is one country on the earth (three at a pinch) where professionals will read it and, hopefully, nod. Elsewhere, the labyrinth of differing laws and procedures will almost certainly trip it up for them. However, the book is now at a point where the layman located anywhere should read and enjoy it - and they make up a much larger share of the audience.
And now I need to stop blogging and get back to editing. Wish me luck.