Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Aspiring Authors - Part 3, The Final Product

3) how do you get the final product (meaning the final version of the completed book)

You want to deliver the best quality product you can. Readers have very little patience for reading books filled with mistakes. Quick story. I met a woman and we really hit it off. Then I read her book. She gave credit to an editor, but there were so many mistakes in it, things like "enuff" or "ruff" (has she never encountered -ough words?). The story was good, but the editing was horrendous. I'm inclined to think her editor was a friend... I am a copyeditor by day. That means I have wicked grammar skills, but I have learned that editing my own work is nearly impossible. 

I have an excellent critique group, and they serve as my first editors, catching style and usage. By the time I think I'm done, I read it through for mistakes, and then I have a checklist of overused words and phrases that I cull out. I use a professional editor who doesn't want to see it until I've done my checklist. When I think it's perfect, I send it through to my editor, who looks it over for flow, logic, and how well it adheres to market rules (and yes, rules can sometimes be broken). She also points out anything I missed along the way. My crit group often find the same things my editor does, but I rely on my editor to be my pro. She's my definitive answer when I disagree with comments my crit partners might have made. 

That final product... I generally have read mine - ad nauseum - upwords of ten times. The good news is that if I still like the story after ten times, its worth sticking with it (I have a couple of duds that didn't make the cut). I read it as I write the first draft. I go back and fill in the missing details, reading it as I go along those subsequent drafts. When I feel I have a finished product, I read through it for flow. Does it follow logically? Then I start the culling process. Get rid of the crutch words, the overused phrases, the unnecessary details that slow down the pace. Then I read it for mistakes (and somehow I ALWAYS find mistakes, no matter what stage I'm at). Then I read it out loud, to make sure it sounds as good as it reads (that's usually the final read). - You get the picture.

Next week - Copyrighting 

With that, I with you all a Happy New Year!


  1. Happy New Year to you, too.
    I'm at the 'just got my manuscript back from the editor' phase, and like you, I left in a few "I like this, but my crit partners didn't" bits, and when my editor questions them as well, no matter how much I like them, they get zapped.

    1. Yep. Editor overrules all. And sometimes she agrees with my stand! But I have some pretty sharp crit partners :-)