Creating the Annotated Sword of Shannara: Part V


brooks-annotatedswordThere are many steps in bringing a book to the shelves—even a book that has been published for 35 years!

The Annotated Sword of Shannara will be published this October 2012. It is a 35th anniversary release featuring one of the most important books in the genre, a book that helped change the fortunes of many writers to come after 1977. Del Rey Books is doing something special with it, hiring Terry and me to annotate the book’s beginnings, the book’s content, and never before glimpses into how it came to be.

Terry and I have worked hard on it. You can follow our journey from the beginning to where we are at currently in the process by reading the different parts of Creating The Annotated Sword of Shannara:

  • Part I – Why I was hired to work on this project!
  • Part II – Interviewing Terry at his Oregon home!
  • Part III – The final annotations being edited by Anne Groell!
  • Part IV – Placing the annotations where they belong!
  • Part IV – Proofing the final book!

Last week, Del Rey sent me the page proofs of The Annotated Sword of Shannara. Page proofs are the book after the editing production team has laid the book out in its final state—the correct fonts, the correct graphics, the correct margin sizes and the like. Page proofs are the last time the author will see the book—and have any ability to make sweeping changes.

And once signed off on, those changes are almost set in stone.


Here are a few pictures of the page proofs:

The Annotated Sword of Shannara The Annotated Sword of Shannara The Annotated Sword of Shannara

The Sword of Shannara was never a small book. With the annotations written in the margins, it appears even larger. Random House sent me a copy to proof. It arrived as seen in the first photo—a massive ream of paper, a rubber band encircling it, with a note from editor Sarah Peed about its due date of August 17th.

I flipped through the first few pages to make sure there were no spelling mistakes on the other Terry Brooks novels page, the title page, the introduction, and the forward. Then I jumped into the text, as you can see from the third picture.

It was a pretty clean book with minor changes to the annotation text. I decided to place a few of the annotations in different places for greater effect but other than that we did our initial jobs well.

Overall, it only took me about five hours to go over the annotations.

The changes I did make though were done with red pen. I am shipping the physical manuscript back to Del Rey today. Those changes will be entered by someone on the production team into the master file and, if we all do our job right, be published in physical form on October 30th!

The book is more than 500 pages, which includes the original text, an introduction about yours truly, a forward, and the 188 annotations that were painstakingly written to make this anniversary edition something special.

More soon!

The Annotated Sword of Shannara will publish October 30, 2012!