When I told a friend that I planned to become a writer, she said, I plan to become an editor, so I hired her on the spot.
One day I told an acquaintance that I had written (past tense) a book, she said, I’m an agent. she said, Let me read it. Let me tell you how to fix it. Let me see if it’s okay to take to the publishing market.
When I said, I’m sorry, you don’t understand, It’s already been published by me. She said, after a long sigh. This is the problem. It takes a lot of editing to create a finished book. This is a big problem. Then she asked, Did you know that Amy Tan edits, and rewrites, a book twenty three times?
I said, That doesn’t surprise me at all. And then I walked away.
I edit a lot, I am also really really enthusiastic. I might think my book is perfect 5 or 6 times before it really is. If you’re a beta-reader (thank you Deborah, Heather, and Crystal) you may have had the joy of beta reading a ‘completely finished, absolutely perfect’ copy of one of my books. Before it had been subjected to a good thorough editing. My sincerest gratitude for your patience.
Here’s some statistics for Fly.
- I wrote the book during NaNoWriMo. 50,000 words.
- I read it through and gave it an edit that made it readable.
- I read it through and edited it to make it less awkward.
- I added a big scene.
- I read it through and edited where needed. I declared it perfect.
- My editor was unable to help so I strong armed two beta-readers. I made all the changes they suggested.
- I read through and edited again. I floundered for a bit declaring it ready and then not releasing it because I wasn’t sure.
- My editor read it. She said, you can release it now, OR we can make it perfect. I enthusiastically opted for perfect.
- She gave me notes, saying, see, it’s not much, only some major changes to the story line.
- I edited through the entire book doing almost everything she asked. I declared it perfect and sent it to a few friends to read.
- Editor then reread and gave me notes that included almost every paragraph. See below.
- I gulped and jumped back in. I did a full book edit, line by line, that while not including every single one of her notes, included most of them. I then sent free e-books to more friends.
- I then pre-ordered a copy for myself and proofed it. See below.
- I proofed the heck out of that book.
If you are one of the friends that received an advance copy, rest assured, the book has been tweaked beyond what you read. Every pass makes it better and better I know that.
That being said, proofing is never really perfect until many eyes have looked. If you are reading a copy of fly and you see something that needs to be fixed, email me. I won’t be offended, as a matter of fact I’ll probably thank you in the acknowledgements — if you’re reading an advance copy, email me and I’ll replace it with a new and improved, and you have my deepest gratitude.
Guess what? When I look back at my list it’s only 14 editing/rewriting passes, but then again, who is comparing me to Amy Tan?