E = Editing
One of the key reasons major publishers are supposed to be a better route to being published than self publishing is because of the editing support they are supposed to provide. But people say they’ve cut back on all that.
So, what’s the truth? Do the major publishers still provide excellent editing. Here’s my story.
I received the edits to my novel The Istanbul Puzzle (to be published by Harper Collins Jan 19, 2012) in early July. They came from my commissioning editor at HC.
My first reaction was this, I was daunted. A rare feeling.
It felt like I was being asked to rebuild an aircraft in mid flight. Sure, there was a lot right, she said, but the novel needed some significant changes too.
I sat down and thought about it, walked around and thought about it, went out, thought about it.
And then I knew what I had to do. I had to rise to the challenge.
But not only had she sent me multiple pages of general notes on structure, character, the threat, the ending, there was also comments and smaller changes on most of the 390 pages of The Istanbul Puzzle.
There were so many changes in fact, I had to put the major themes on a very large sheet of paper. I could have put them in a spreadsheet, but somehow, and I’m not sure why, a computer screen didn’t seem the right place to review these every day. See the document I made below.
It’s not a very impressive document, I know, but it has been hugely helpful at keeping all the different things I’m working on within easy reach. Mentally and physically.
I’ve also added to the document as I go. And I use it too. Most days I refer to it before I start and highlight the few things I need to keep in mind that day. Mostly, I’m editing 10 or 15 pages a day, in the early morning. So I can bite off chunks of the editing task at a time.
I agreed with my editor that six weeks would be enough for me to finish this major edit. My deadline is the 15th of August! So why am I writing this? I’m nearly there. Only 90 pages to go!
I plan to have a full edit done by the 8th, and then to do a very quick, 65 pages a day, final run through to catch any errors I have inserted in with this “last” set of changes. How this happens is amazing, but it does.
This is now edit number 19, I think, of this novel. I lost track a few years ago! But that seems about right.
They are correct when they say writing is editing.
Now it’s back to the laptop. One more week to go. I’ll be working every day, especially at the weekend. Wish me luck!
And as for the question about whether publishers still provide editing support. I think you know my answer to that.