I’ve mentioned this before that everyone thinks the hard part is writing the book. Don’t get me wrong, coming up with a story that’s going to hold people’s interest and creating characters that people are going to love takes work and time. It takes a lot of hitting the delete button because what you just wrote absolutely will NOT work or what you just had those two characters say to each other made zero sense before you actually get it right. However, it’s what comes after the writing that’s the hard part.
I finally finished writing my second book and I was absolutely overjoyed because I have been lovingly referring to this as my demon child for all the trouble it has been giving me for well over a year. Once it was finished, I knew I needed to sit down and go through it before I sent it off to my editor because I prefer to at least look like I sort of know what I’m doing.
I read awhile back that one of the best ways to edit is to print out your manuscript and go through it by hand because you can miss things on the computer. I did that for my first book and it worked so no reason not to do it again. I forgot how intimidating that large stack of pages can be. Sometimes I would just stare at it and think “Okay, I know I have to go pick you up but I don’t wanna.” It took me a lot longer to get through than I anticipated and after going though it by hand I had to go back and put those changes in the computer. I was literally shipping off my final draft to my editor about twenty minutes after I finished my edits.
Then comes the waiting…I had to wait about five days for my editor to complete her run through of it. The waiting is AWFUL. The whole time you can’t help but think “Is it horrible? Does everything make sense? Did I royally screw this up?” Once I got the email back from my editor that she was finished, I’m not going to lie, I wanted to throw up because now I had the answers to those questions right in front of my face.
As it turns out, it wasn’t horrible. She really liked it! Before you get all excited for me, that didn’t mean it was without it’s problems because it was full of them. I was so overwhelmed going through everything that I had to give myself two days to truly digest everything that she said before I could look at it again. We chatted on the phone a few days later and she reiterated how much she liked the story but just said she felt certain things needed some more development or to maybe consider doing something a little different at a certain part so that it was better for the reader. It was all things that were very fixable.
I felt slightly better after our talk, but I still had to do the fixing. The thing one of my author friends reminded me is that I’m the author, what I say goes. It’s easy to forget that when someone else is telling you that you need to make changes. They weren’t bad suggestions either, but ultimately, I have to decide what stays and what goes and what needs changing to make my book the best it possibly can be.
I’m making my way through my edits and I hope to be done by the end of the week or at least before Halloween. It’ll need a second pass through before it’s ready to go for formatting. Editing is hard but it’s supposed to be. It makes you take a really close look at the story you’ve laid out and how you can possibly make it better. Your goal should always be to put out the best book possible. That’s something you can’t do alone. You need someone or people to help you see the things that you can’t or that you don’t want to see so that when your book gets out into the world you aren’t cringing about not fixing a mistake you should’ve caught. Don’t take shortcuts when it comes to your book; I’m sure that your anxious to get your book in the hands of readers and that’s completely understandable but you’ve taken the time to write it, have a cover made, etc. so don’t skimp out on editing.
You need to have thick skin if you’re going to dive into the author world. You also need to remember that when someone is editing your book, those red pen marks are not attacking YOU as a person, they are making points about your writing or asking questions that only you can answer. Think about that for a second…those questions about your story, your characters, you are the only one with all the answers. That’s a pretty powerful thing. Don’t take it lightly.
Okay, that’s enough preaching. You know what you need to do. Oh, one more thing…don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find people who have been down this road before and pick their brains…it’s so helpful!
I’ve got my first “event” tomorrow. I’m doing an author talk at my town library. I’m going to be talking about my first book, answering questions (I hope people actually ask questions), reading a passage or two and signing books for anyone who brings one. It’s a bit unnerving to be doing something like this in my hometown library but I’m trying to chalk it up as another experience. In the meantime, I’ve got those edits to finish AND work on book 3. The train never stops moving but it sure is a fun train to be on. Until next time!