At the time this blog is being written, we’re – and I’ll explain what I mean by we part – in the process of finishing the “editing” process. Every few days, I get a section of the book from the proof reader and either accept the changes or modify the manuscript as needed.
Once this step is done, BIG MOTHER 40 goes into “production” which is getting the manuscript ready to be sent to the printer and prepared for distribution via the common electronic formats. The cover design is already done and it is on my website.
So who is the “we” in the “we’re?” The other folks are Dorrie O’Brien, a.k.a. the “book editor” and Chris Paige, Fireship’s proof reader.
After Fireship Press and I signed the contract to publish the book, they encouraged me to work with a professional book editor to polish the manuscript. For a first time novelist like me, it is sort of a writer’s boot camp in which she suggests changes and “asks” me to redo/rewrite/re-sequence scenes in the book.
It has been a learning process for me through which I’ve learned a lot and am still learning. One lesson is finding the right balance between enough detail to give the reader confidence that me, as an author, know what I am talking about and too much will lose the reader.
Another is the use of adverbs ending with the letters “ly” are the enemy. You’d be amazed how often we use them and in most cases, they’re not necessary. A phrase or another sentence works better and gives the author a chance to exercise more creativity.
After turning over the manuscript to Dorrie, she does a critique of the manuscript which, at times, was painful reading. Then, we started fixing the problems. Every few days, I got an assignment to go through her suggestions of the section and re-write as necessary. When we started, the manuscript was right around 127,000 words. The finished novel will be around 147,000 so a lot was added. Some were easy to write. Others were a challenge because I struggled because I had to make changes that rippled through the story line and it was hard to get it right. That’s where Dorrie was a great help.
The editing process takes time which creates its own pressure because both Fireship and I would like to get the book out on the market. So, every day we’re working on the manuscript means that publication is delayed a day. My goal was to turn around each section within 48 – 72 hours after receiving it. Meeting this self-imposed deadline added more pressure. Juggling a full time job and setting aside quiet time to work on the manuscript was a challenge. It led to a lot of late nights and weekends. Oh well!!!
Once we’re finished with the proof reading step, Fireship will be able to come up with a more precise estimate. Right now, we’re – Fireship and I – on target to have the book out in late September or early October.