Happy Wednesday everyone! I have been job hunting and enjoying the last few weeks of beautiful Oregon weather before the rain returns in full force. It has been such a long summer that I’m almost ready for the cooler weather (ALMOST) but then I remember the nine months of rain that we have ahead of us and I start to second guess myself.
I wanted to write this post today because I have a lot of people, mostly family members, ask me when I’m going to finish editing my book, how long it’s going to take until it’s done, what the next steps are, ect. Don’t get me wrong, I love that people are interested in my book, but whenever I try to answer these questions my brain becomes a big ball of mush and I get irrationally angry (which hopefully isn’t obvious to anyone but me). Every book is different and every writer is different, and I think that every writer understands the struggle of editing. But not everyone I know is a writer, actually very few are. So I apologize for my irrational anger and brain mush. This post is for you non-writers and all the normal people that don’t write novels in your spare time. Just kidding, no one is normal.
Steps to getting a book published: Cali Style
1. Post a very excited and celebratory post on Facebook announcing the completion of the first draft of the book. This is an essential first step for any writer, obviously.
2. Alternate between loving and detesting newly finished manuscript. Can’t I just be done? Do I really have to edit? Ugh this is terrible, I need to rewrite the entire thing. (These are my brain thoughts)
3. Start editing. Realize that I have no idea what I’m doing. Remember that I think that every time I go to edit anything. Remember that I need to give myself a cooling off period before I can really edit competently.
4. Read through entire manuscript (yay I actually wrote a 300 page book!)and make notes of what needs work. At this point I am just looking at content, not sentence structure, grammar, ect.
5. Edit! This first edit involved cutting some sections, restructuring others, and adding in additional scenes or extra tidbits to existing scenes. After my first edit the manuscript went from around 69,000 to 77,000 words. That’s 254 pages to 292 for all of you normal people that don’t write novels in your spare time 🙂
6. Print out all 292 pages so exactly two people can read it. One of those two people finished it in a week. The other still hasn’t (Madeline Powell. Cough cough). After their somewhat limited feedback I realized I needed someone with writing and editing experience to look at it and give me some educated feedback.
This list is getting really long… whoops.
7. My wonderful aunt, who happens to also be an amazing writer and editor, read through it and gave me feedback. She only read through it for content. She gave me feedback on characters and plot and the big things which was perfect. SIDE NOTE: whenever I receive feedback/criticism on my writing I get all my writing is horrible and I’m never going to be able to fix this ect.. I’m not proud of it, but it’s what happens every time. Luckily, after one to three days of being a sad little kitten I start being able to brainstorm again, and then I start getting excited and motivated. This is what happened when I received feedback from my aunt. After a couple days of stewing and thinking I started to edit again.
8. After another round of revisions my manuscript is now 81,000 words and 302 pages. Most of my aunts feedback required adding content rather than cutting anything out (Although I’m convinced that there are some bits that need to come out, I’m just not exactly sure what they are yet). The bits that I added in were mostly meant to strengthen my characters and create a stronger ending. When I finished this round of revisions my lovely aunt volunteered to read the manuscript again this time looking for content and grammar/ sentence structure/ ect.
9. I am currently writing query letters! Well just one at the moment, but it will eventually evolve into many. My next step, as soon as my aunt is finished with her editing (which could take awhile because she’s about to become a grandma!) will be to revise anything that needs revising and then… drum roll please… ask a few people to be my Beta readers! Once again, for all of you normal people that don’t write novels in your spare time, a Beta reader is a regular person (usually someone that likes to read and knows what works with books) that a writer asks to read their manuscript. Writers usually ask Beta readers to looks at certain aspects of the manuscript and answer specific questions that will help the writer fine-tune the manuscript so it’s ready for agents to look at. So I am almost ready for Beta readers and I am so excited! For anyone that has already offered to read my book and give me comments, watch out, I may just ask you to make good on your offer 🙂 As for my time line, it really depends on how fast everyone, including me, can read and edit my manuscript. I want my book to be finished more than anyone, but it takes time. And I want my first book to be as perfect as it can get. The good news is that every day I get closer, and I’m so excited!
In my next post I’ll cover what exactly a query letter is, why I want to get a book agent, what a book agent is and does, and what will happen after my manuscript is completely finished. Also, I haven’t forgotten my promise to write and share an actual summary/synopsis of what my book is about! Lucky for anyone that’s interested, a large part of writing query letters involves creating an exciting synopsis, one that I will hopefully be able to share with everyone soon.