This is one in a series of posts entitled Publishing 101: Draft to Book in 30 Days. To learn more about this challenge, visit the Publishing 101 page, where all links regarding this topic will be listed as they become available.
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When people ask me what story they should write or which story they should choose to publish from the many stories they have in draft form, I tell them to pick one they love. I mean really love. Love so hard they can’t live without it love. Because by the time they complete the editing process, they’ll be so sick of the story they won’t want to read it again for weeks, possibly years.
Don’t believe me?
I wouldn’t believe me either except I discovered the truth in the fall of 2010. By the time I completed editing Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove, a youth novel of only 30,000 words, one I completely adored, I was ready to bang my head against the wall.
In defence of editing: This was my first project, so there was a huge learning curve. The amount of editing and reading involved in this small project was equal to that in my 130,000-word fantasy novel. The difference was that by the time I wrote Shadows in the Stone, I had many months of editing experience under my belt. There was less to correct because I had made fewer mistakes.
After Mystery Light in Cranberry Cove was published, I wanted to forget about it, never read it again. Ever. About ten months later, my youngest child asked me to read the story to him, so I did, and I discovered I still liked the story. Phew!
So what does this all mean? When you choose to edit and self-publish a novel, make sure you love it like no other story. It also means that editing does get easier with experience.
Even though I’ve read Fowl Summer Nights eight times in the past month and will need to read it once more when the softcover proof arrives, I am not tired of the story. I don’t feel sick to my stomach thinking about reading it again. I discovered using editing guidelines made a huge difference in the way I not only approach editing but also the final outcome of how I feel about the overall experience.
After I received the edited manuscript from my editor, I evaluated each suggestion, and applied 99% of them. Then guess what?
I read the manuscript one more time before I was satisfied that this copy would be formatted into a paperback template.
Below is what I call the Editing Steps Breakdown. At a glance I can see how much time I’ve spent on each step. The total amount of time is 30 hours and 20 minutes.
- First read to see if all works: 3 hours
- Verb Check: 10 hours
- Target Passive text and Redundant Words: 7 hours
- Read Out Loud: 3 1/2 hours
- Spell and Grammar Check: 15 minutes
- Print and Edit: 2 hours, 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to add changes to computer file
- Submit to an Editor: –
- Apply Suggestions: 1 hour
- Read Manuscript: 3 hours
- Read Softcover Proof: When it arrives
I ordered the paperback proof from CreateSpace on February 27th. It’s scheduled to arrive on March 13th.
This completes this step in the Draft to Book in 30 Days challenge.
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