Okay, so I’ve been writing the sequel to Secrets, Shame and a Shoebox., and now The Twenty-One-Year Contract is finished! If you love Harriet, I promise she will pop up.
Today I am talking about editing.
Even as I glance through this post I stop and find myself editing. For me, I tend to edit as I work. Though I re-write, and re-write so many times it can be difficult to move forward with the next chapter.
There’s always a stop point. A place where I don’t feel it flows. So I have to take a really good look at it. This happened only a couple of days ago on my new project. I’m lucky, I have some really good writing friends who don’t mind telling me what’s what! So I took it along to them. Now hopefully I can edit that piece and move on.
Its not wrong to check your work. Or stop and re-read passages, but sometimes its good to just keep going. I say that because I know a few people who never finish because they are never satisfied. I’m certainly one of those, but I am a ‘completer’ I like to start and finish a project, even if its years later!
Now the reason I decided to write about the editing process is because I’ve posted my last authorised galley back for the Twenty-One-Year Contract. Yikes!
Trouble is, you’d think I’d have this cracked by now, this editing malarkey, as I’ve been lucky enough to have been here once before. I mean. I cant help correcting things I’ve noticed, well, who wouldn’t? An editor may have missed something, and then I find I’d like to improve upon a sentence or a chapter. It happens. I’m also lucky enough to have a proof reader. That said, things can get missed. Honestly, no disrespect, its a hard job.
So what is a galley? I always thought it was something on board a boat/ship! Without wishing to patronise, just in case its new to you, a galley in the publishing world is where the book is segmented into page numbers, chapters, and a line-by-line numbering system. The purpose of this is so you can jot your notes for your editor against the pages, lines etc., to see your changes more easily.
Anyway, the editing strand of your writing means that you need to make your manuscript as shiny as you possibly can before either going to print or sending submissions.
The trouble is you KNOW your work. You KNOW what its going to say. Most likely you have read it through a gazillion times and so therefore it MUST right. Right?
It’s all too easy to miss simple, even the most obvious of mistakes. Like an and, or such like. I bet you’ve already spotted typos and grammatical errors in this post. However, like I’ve said before with apologies, whilst I like to get things right, and shiny, sometimes my blog suffers as a consequence as I’m usually being poked in the ear by my granddaughter with a toy brick, or my daughter, son, or husband needs me. I will lovingly, happily give all and any time I have. For example, right now my husband is making a new bed. Its a flat pack. I’ve been told to ‘be on hand!’ and can hear the ‘oh no,” and similar loud noises coming from the bedroom where he’s working. He just needed me to give him some first aid on a sliced finger. Yuk! I’m no nurse.
So apologies if this isn’t shiny enough, I try my best. Please note though, I carefully read all author spotlights. These posts are simply amazing tools for the creative writer, and reader, as I find I learn so much from their experiences and they give hints and tips along the way without even realising it. Win win!
They may even mention the editing part of their journey. So definitely well worth reading.
Back to ideas for editing.
- Have you a ‘read aloud’ programme on your computer/laptop? Its brilliant. While you might not like hearing it read back in a weird robotic voice, something might catch your ear, a something that doesn’t quite sound right, and it gives you the opportunity to read and check.
2. Read aloud yourself! If it doesn’t flow, if you fumble or stumble, then check it. You may even see the typos or recognise grammatical errors.
3. Get someone to read out loud to you. Yes, as difficult as that might seem, its superb way of identifying any glitches. Your first time reader won’t know what’s coming, so they have to read every word. (Well usually).
4. I suggest you get a trusted friend to read through and spot any mistakes.
5. Find a first time reader to read and feed back, making scribbles if they feel confident enough to.
6. If you are lucky enough to have a proof reader friend who will do it for free, lucky you. Though if you are being traditionally published the publishers will provide that service for free.
7. An editor. An editor is expensive, but if they are any good, well worth their salt. Again if you are traditionally published the publisher will provide that service for free.
8. Print it off. I’ve found having a hard copy is a surprising wake up call. It glares at me and says ‘what on earth were you thinking when you wrote that? It’s in the wrong order you total numpty!’
9. Kindle or similar device. Another way of seeing it on a different screen can highlight issues as well..
I go through all of the above. It takes a while. Its a long process but worth it. Even so I never feel confident. I always want to change something. When I authorised the final galley it was the hardest thing to do. Letting the manuscript go. I just don’t trust that I’ve got it right. The moment I sent it off I asked for a couple of things to be changed. Then changed my mind.
Oh, yes, fortunately my editor is very patient! (Love you lovely lady!)
I guess its similar to ripping off a plaster. When its done its done!
Even then I confess I get imposters syndrome. I’m quaking in my boots an hiding under the sheets.
Since the plaster has been ripped off, I’ve been informed The Twenty-One-Year Contract has been approved, and authorised with the publisher I have a release date: May 9th! Nothing can change. Yes, its that final. Once again I’m terrified. Exposed. Worried that people are going to hate it, hate me and laugh at me. Yes, I get all of that paranoia, and more. Anyway, the moment I sent it for approval I was instantly reminded that I needed to sort out the front cover!
I’d put this waaaay to the back of my mind. The title is hard enough.
So here it is…. my
FRONT COVER REVEALED
What I’ve learned is that any books I write in future are going to have short titles! They take ages to type, especially with commas, or in this case hyphens!
Of course the front cover is as important as the back cover – the blurb might tip the decision to buy. This is something else I’ve learned. Sometimes I learn things way too late. Hopefully not though.
I’ve been conversing with an online support writing group. They discussed how they select books. Some agreed that they wouldn’t look at anyone’s books unless they are established.! How the heck can you become established if no-one reads your work? Isn’t that just short sighted and downright silly.
Some said they go on the reviews. Yes of course, but then if no-one reads your book then how do you get reviews!
THE FRONT COVER Part 2 Thank you to everyone for their input!
I reached out and asked what people’s views would be for the front cover. I really didn’t have a firm idea. I talked it over with my husband, listened to everyone and then came to a conclusion. Now I had a firm idea now what I wanted.
The next thing I did to get a feel of what I thought the finished product might be was by arranging a rolled up sheet of paper with a ribbon around. I took a shot of it. Then sketched the background, searching for the right picture to convey to the team was really hard. They ask for descriptions, but I find doing all of the above helps me ‘see’ the final product.
This information then had to be transferred in detail to The Wild Rose Press illustrating team. I had RJ do mine last time and she did a great job so I made a special request that she might take it on.
Thanks for joining me today. Please share my blog and tell your friends about my books. I will be so grateful. Oh, and by the way, during this month and creeping into one day in May I am doing a BIT OF A QUIZ. Join me. I’d love if you do. Thanks and ta, ta for now! Happy writing and editing!