As I approach publication of “Switching Stations, Switching Stories”, I am aware the editing process is not quite over. Yes, I know I have gone through the manuscript dozens of times prior to paying a professional editor. In February we worked along side each other passing the manuscript back and forth via e-mail every two to three days. Eventually after three weeks maybe a bit less than that, my eyes were glazing over. By the fifth read through I was no longer going through every page with “a fine tooth comb.”
So we moved on to the book cover. Celebration city! More files got passed between us and soon I had a complete digital book cover with my author bio on the back. I then created an account with Create Space, an Amazon Company, uploaded the book cover then the manuscript itself. I only had to get in touch with my editor once in this process to fix the margins. She also suggested I order a proof of the manuscript in actual book form. She wrote that it would be a good idea to see everything in the text to be sure it was as I wanted. This sounded like code speak for more editing and didn’t I just go through this? Yes, I did but as my editor wrote – and I am paraphrasing – “It’s the little things that get passed over.” She had a good point.
How was I going to avoid the tiny stuff adding up and snowballing and hurting potential book sales? I knew I was not competent and my editor’s work was done and the contract date met. So what was I going to do? Yes, I have talked with my family over the years about the manuscript but I wanted someone outside of family. I did have friends who read the book but I got plenty of praise and no constructive criticism. Praise is wonderful but real feedback, both good and bad, can be a real help. I turned to an employee in my family’s internet business. She and I have talked about this manuscript for at least a year, but I had never asked her to actually read it. When I asked her, she agreed to read the book and give me feedback on any last minute changes. I paid for a copy of my own book and gifted it to her with a personal note.
Now I want to make it clear that the work this reader is graciously doing for me, will be the FINAL EDIT. The polish if you will. I have set myself a publication date of March 24, 2014 and I won’t budge. Her recommendations will be incorporated into the file I have on my computer titled “final manuscript switching stations, switching stories” by March 23rd. There will not be another read through of the entire manuscript. Anything that was not caught by my reader will be left there. Because as any writer, past and present, can tell you, unless you set an end date for editing and stick with it, you will set up yourself up for perpetual editing and never publish. There are exceptions. There are writers who had to change this publication date for one reason or another, but ultimately a date had to be chosen and stuck to.
I can only control so much with the manuscript. There are my standards and then there were my editor’s standards, and now the unknown standards of the readers who might buy this book. I want to be sure I give 100% to ensuring that any person who reads this book, is not going to search for grammatical errors or weird story errors like a character’s last name suddenly being different. I want the reader to enjoy the story not worry about anything else. This is a high, high bar. However reality tells me I can only minimize the errors to the smallest percentage I can. After that, once I publish, that is that. I either benefit from the blood, sweet, tears, and financial investment I put in the manuscript or I don’t. Now, if there are people who read this book and do look for those errors anyway, I hope it is short lived, and if he or she chooses to do a review, the story itself will be their focus. As I wrote earlier, there comes a time when one has to let go of their work. I also wanted to move on to other things.
This past summer I wrote a draft outline of a second vampire book. I also worked on outlining the plan I needed to market the first book, the idea for the blog, and so on. I sat on all of this until I got to the proof stage in Create Space, where I am now. Okay, I admit, I wrote six pages of the second book in the first six days of January, but I stopped once I chose an editor. I did not type another word till the proof stage was reached. Yes, I am working on a new vampire manuscript. But each day after work I can’t add more to it until I do some promotion for the first book on social media, work more on search engine optimization for the blog, and so on. Once I have done a bit of this I can write more of the second manuscript. I will write about these things in future blog posts. However I can give you a preview, building a blog, doing the seo & the web tools, social media sites and the list goes on.
I am very proud of myself for making it through a whole lot of the editing process and getting closer to releasing the book I have worked on for four years. I never thought I would get this brave, but as I wrote in “A Vampire Book Really?” I had no choice, I couldn’t let this story go nor could I ignore the people who encouraged me to go the distance. And now the emotions are welling up, I better bottle them up because I have sixteen days to go. I can save the tears for publication day.