Sometimes You Gotta Eat Crow–Comments re: Editing

Posted: July 8, 2011 in Writing
Tags: , , , ,

On May 24, 2011, I posted a blog regarding editing.  In that post, I stated, “No one’s gonna take it seriously if it ain’t edited.”  Let’s fast forward about a month, when my novel Enemy in Blue, released.  A week later, I got an amazing call from one of my new readers.  First, she said, she had to put the book down or she wouldn’t get to sleep that night.  Awesome!  Elation!  Someone is enjoying my story!  Really, what more could you ask for as I rode a flaming chariot up to the heavens?  Then, she sucked me down to the depths of hell just as quickly.  “I am finding some errors though.”  Gulp.  Honestly, it was like Mike Tyson punched me in the stomach and  bit a piece of my ear off at the same time.

I’ve told people that two nightmares existed with respect to this book: (1) people aren’t going to like it; and/or (2) there are going to be errors.  #2 came true.

Just to give some context, I didn’t blow hot air up all of your collective arses in that May 24, 2011 post.  I did do multiple edits of the book on my own.  I did send the manuscript to readers to get fresh eyes on it.  And, I did pay a copy editor to review the manuscript after incorporating the fixes from my readers.  All that, and there are still errors.  What’s a boy to do then, huh?

This is where the beauty of self-publishing comes into play.  My book is simply two PDF files on Createspace.  An interior file, and an exterior/cover file.  This allows me the freedom to make the corrections being discovered right now, and upload a new interior file as soon as possible.  The book will be down for 2-3 days, but that’s a small price to pay to get closer to a perfect product.

What lessons were learned?  I rushed through the proofs.  Don’t do that.  Honestly, it’s difficult.  You get your book, you say holy shit I’m holding this thing, and the last thing you want to do next is read it again and then wait for another proof to come (I did go through three proofs).  Bottom line though, it’s worth the extra few days to read through the book again and catch any mistakes.   Second lesson, and something I fortunately did, wait to send your book out for reviews and more “formal” analyses until you’ve had some people read through the book.  That way, people who are more inclined to be gentle with you are catching the errors.  You can have the story polished to a shiny, impenetrable stone by the time you start sending it to the real critics!

There you go, lessons learned, some crow eaten.

  1. You’re absolutely correct. The last thing anyone wants to do is read through their book again. But self-published authors who want to be taken seriously need to take this advice seriously. (I wish there was an option for italics in comments)

  2. Well said, Derek! I actually send mine to the beta readers after the editors go through it. They will invariable catch stuff both myself and the editors missed. I also printed my first book up on Lulu (cheaper than printing it at home) and read through it with a purple pen before it went to Create Space and Lightning Source. Months between the edits can be very helpful… but it’s so damn hard to wait that long!

    • Derek Blass says:

      Even on my first one, I had beta readers, and stuff got through. With my next book, it will be my edits, then professional, then beta, then mine, then pub 🙂 Thanks for the comment, C.j.

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