Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eitd, Etd, darn it I mean Edit

Knee-deep in revisions for Created In Fire, I am uber conscious of wanting the book to be as good as it possibly can be. Though there are no truly perfect books these days, the biggest cross I bear as an Indie writer is trying to do an acceptable level of editing on the books before publishing them. Unfortunately, the total responsibility for that rests on me and I have become a terrible editor of my own work. I seem to have traded the perfectionist tendencies I had as a technical writer for creative ones.

While I'm not unhappy with the trade, it's hard to work out the perfect editing process when you control all aspects of it which may be something in traditional publishing's favor with editors serving as gatekeepers for book perfection. Still I have no longings to go that route, so I just want to find a process that keeps me from getting negative comments in reviews about the books needing more editing. I am very grateful to every reader who has bought my books and loved them despite their mechanical flaws. Because of that gratitude, I am taking more and more steps to fix the first published version of every book because all readers deserve the best content a writer can produce. I also have no problem fixing content after release and publishing a revision if one is needed.

My book The Right Thing is probably one of the cleanest books I've published so far because my editor saw it twice. Created In Fire is being seen twice by the editor as well, plus it will also see a proofreader.

Six books into my publishing career, I have learned some things about myself as a writer. One issue I struggle with is to actually stop writing (aka creatively altering the story) when I start editing, but this is not an easy thing to do. My tendency is to keep on writing new content which I discovered introduced new errors faster than my editor could find them. So now I'm adding a proofreader at the end of my process and letting that person look at it after I have finally stopped "fixing" things. Though  he lives in another state, I can still hear my editor sighing with relief.

In self-publishing, it takes a while until you have money enough to hire the amount of help needed. Not many of us can get by with letting a spouse or a friend edit. I'm not 100% there yet, but I am getting closer. I normally put a revision up within a month of initial release because by then I have the time to go back through the book more slowly and without pressure. Time and distance help with the objectivity that is critical to seeing the errors.

Recently, I had the first series books reviewed again for print versions and found yet more tiny errors that needed correcting. So I will be shortly be releasing revised ebook versions of the Never Too Late Series.  Don't ask how many times Dating A Cougar has been revised. I'm too embarrassed to put the number in this post.

Now it's my turn to sigh. I do that a lot when I'm editing.
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