Sunday, December 9, 2012

Write the Darn Book! - Part #6

4. Make sure you have at least one, preferably two, good editors a line editor and a content and copy editor. You need to search for these people. Do not just accept that if you pay top dollar, you'll get a great edit because there's no guarantee you'll even get your money's worth. Searching out recommendations is the best way to do this (which is why you need to be affiliated with other Indie authors).


I learned this lesson the difficult way. On my first Indie book, not having a huge budget, I decided that I could edit the work myself, have a few friends read it over (other authors) and this would suffice. Needless to say, the reviews proved me wrong.


I also noticed when I read other Indie author's work, editing was a huge problem. Wanting to give them a review and be honest proved difficult. I had to write about the positive parts of the stories and ignore what I knew to be a considerable problem. Thankfully, a lot of those authors have come to the same conclusion as myself. In order to get good reviews, the work needs to be clean.


Also, since I had been used to working with an editor when published with Wild Rose Press, I knew how much stronger the story became after a professional viewed it and did their magic.


So I found a name of an editor on Google and contacted the person. After reading pages of recommendations she sent me (not from anyone I knew), I decided her price was fair and I'd send her my new masterpiece. It was my first full-length for the new romantic suspense series called "Roll the Dice". I had set up a lot of promotional advertising about the book's release for Sept 15th. Keeping that in mind, I organized everything to the extent that I had scheduled the editor for mid-August, thinking if the she took a few weeks, I'd have at the minimum a week to do the revisions.


To my utter consternation, I received the edits three days before the release date, and needless to say, a huge amount of revisions were demanded. To add to my horror, I found I most of it useless. An editor should not rewrite a book. They are to read your words and make suggestions to strengthen the sentences, correct bad grammar, and see that the work flows in the best possible way. They should never rewrite sentence after sentence, changing the meaning and adding in even more phrases. If they feel there's a weak area, they point it out and let the author choose her own words to make those corrections.


With so little time and determined to follow her changes, (after all we're told the editor is the professional who knows best) I found that she had taken license with my voice and had ruined the work. Instead of me taking advantage of her edits, I found myself editing her suggestions, which took me twice as long, and my time was quickly running out. I had no choice but to ignore her work and do my best so I could meet my obligations and publish the work. It was a horrible time, stressful and very traumatic. I swore to never let that happen again.


Needless to say, I contacted some of my Indie friends, told them my plight and got the names of some wonderful editors who would never treat my work so unprofessionally.


After releasing the mangled copy on time for the big day, I worked with two other editors who helped me repair the damage and then some time after, I republished the clean manuscript. I wrote to Amazon, explained the circumstances about the book not being properly edited and asked if they could send out fresh copies to the people who had received the book so far. They were wonderful and replaced Roll the Dice for everyone who wanted a fresh copy. I so appreciated this…but. You sensed the but, didn't you? I wished they would have used the wording I'd suggested – that the book was being replaced by a newly edited version.
Unfortunately, what they did say was due to the many spelling mistakes, incorrect punctuation, etc, etc. they were willing to send anyone sho wanted an updated copy. Sooooo embarrassing!!! I walked around with a heavy heart for weeks and swore… never again!


***Disclaimer***I have no doubt that there are still some older published books of mine with occasional spelling errors, punctuation mistakes and other problems. I do intend to fix them as soon as I find the time. But, my goal from now on is that any book I release will be as clean as possible.

***Taking licence to brag!*** Angel Lovable Christmas is still riding the traction with Amazon and last I looked was in the  #800 level in ranking – #11 Contemporary and #14 in Fantasy. I’ve kept the price at the low 99cents in order to let as many readers have an enjoyable holiday book for themselves and to give as gifts also. If the 43 reviews (mostly 5 and 4 stars) are to be believed, this is the story you’ll want to read this season!






1 comment:

  1. Hi Mimi,
    Great post & found it very useful. I'm writing my first novel so I'm very 'green' and it's good to have some sound advice. Thanks.