A popular post from April 2008
by Heather Moore
Part of the writing journey is, of course, rewriting
Many new writers are surprised to learn that a book goes through a number of drafts or revisions before it's even accepted for publication. Of course there's a point in time when you need to stop revising and start submitting.
On average, I have my manuscript reviewed/edited by 5-7 people before submitting to a publisher. My publisher will send my manuscript to three readers, who in turn write up evaluations that outline the strengths and weaknesses and suggest whether or not the manuscript is publishable.
IF the evaluations are favorable overall, the publisher will officially "accept" the book. Then the publisher sends me the three evalutations (sometimes they are quite long: 10-13 pages), and I go through each comment and use the advice to make my manuscript stronger. I don't agree with all comments, but I try to explain to my editor why I don't want to change something.
Then, I'm assigned an editor, who goes through my new revision and gives his/her comments. I edit from the editor's comments. This is when the edits "really" count and a writer has to weigh each suggestion or correction with care. It's not the time to brush off a suggestion with "Sally from my critique group just doesn't get me . . . so I'll ignore her character motivation comment . . ."
But even after submitting the next revision . . . it's still not over. A disk changer will implement my fixes, and any approved fixes by the editor, and sometimes the disk changer will come back with comments. THEN the manuscript is typeset and goes to two copyeditors. The copyeditors are mainly proofing, but they may also find an inconsistency that needs to be fixed.
Through this process, the author is reading each new version, checking for errors that can creep up through the typeset or the disk-changer process.
So, by the time the book is sent the press, I don't want to ever see it again. Yes, I'm excited to hold the book in my hands and to gaze at the cover when it hits shelves. But open it and read it? No.
My excitement comes from getting good reviews, hearing comments from readers, and knowing that all of the hard work was worth it. And of course, undying gratitude for all of the "editors" who helped me on the path.