Friday, January 27, 2012

Editing the Indie Novel, Part One

Tip of the Day: Going indie doesn't mean you should go it alone. Surround yourself with a tribe of talented writers.

Okay, I wasn't going to do this right away, but it feels like a discussion of editing should be the next step. The reason I hesitate to tackle this topic is because nothing in e-publishing leads to more anger and arguments than editing.

Self-published novels have a bad rep for being poorly edited. In some cases, it's deserved. As epubbing has evolved over the last couple years, editing has taken on a whole different face. I wouldn't recommend anyone ever epublish without extensive editing.

Just. Don't. Do. It.

Today I'm going to tell you a bit about my editing practices

Here's my process:

1. I write the whole novel
2. I edit & rewrite
3. I edit & rewrite again
4. Then I send it out to Angela Carlie, who is the ying to my editing yang. She has a deep understanding of all of my writing foibles and she's not afraid to tell me when I've royally screwed up. She points out every zit, every freckle, and every stoopid mistake in my manuscript. Getting back any less would be a disservice to me. I WANT to be aware of every problem. Otherwise, what's the point of editing? (note: I just wish I could learn not to repeat the same mistakes over and over - I'm trying)
5. I cry, debate quitting writing, and eat a lot of chocolate
6. Then I edit & rewrite
7. I send the manuscript out to several more readers
8. I edit & rewrite
9. Then I start my proofreading chain - I send the first third of the book to one person who proofreads it. Any mistakes s/he finds, I correct. Then I send that segment to another reader while sending the first reader the second third of the book. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. I run my proofreading through at least three readers in this fashion so by the time the last person gets the book, it's hopefully squeaky clean.

Oh - each one of these readers is different. I never ask the same person to read the same manuscript twice. It's so easy to become comfortable with a book. I want my editors & proofreaders to come at my work with 100% fresh eyes. (My love & thanks to Karly, GP, Magan, Kim, Margaret, Tim, Marcia, Mark, Kate, Cherie, Teresa, David, Eugene, and OMG I know I'm forgetting people - if I forgot you, please email me and tell me and I'll add you in!)

Do I claim to be perfect? No. Do I think everyone will 'get' my style? No. I've been trashed by some readers for editing - while other readers praise the exact same style choices. Again, it leads back to the idea of subjectivity and enjoyment when a reader reads.

I think sometimes the casual reader with little experience in editing doesn't understand the difference between style choices and poor editing. When I edit other people's work, I am heavy into editing of punctuation and grammar. I don't often touch on style unless it's something that's glaring, like an author's tic versus a character's tic (which is something Angela taught me to find). Then I will say something. I usually try to let the author's style shine through because I feel that's what makes indie novels so special.

Okay, I could go on for years on this topic. Check out me & Ang below. The longer you're around me, you'll learn I have a slight obsession with Ang & I haven't met in real life, but we've been internet friends for years now. :D

( first novel, Anathema, is free right now on the iBookstore - go download it if you're interested)

1 comment:

DeenaML said...

Thanks for sharing your revision/editing schedule! After reading SLEEPERS, I can now see how all that polishing paid off.