Monday, June 24, 2013
My book is coming out in November. It's not my first book, but it is my first novel, so I'm a novice when it comes to this whole fiction publishing process.
Right now, I am in the editing stage, working with a professional editor whose job it is to help me make the book the best it can be before it comes out in print for the whole world to see.
This is by no means the first time I've revised this book. By the time I submitted it to my agent, I had written and revised it myself, submitted it chapter-by-chapter to my critique group, and revised each chapter (again) based on their input. In the four years it took my agent to sell the book (yes, you read that right), I kept tweaking it, and I kept busy writing other things as well. I wrote another novel, worked on revisions on a middle grade book (still homeless), wrote a proposal and opening chapters for a non-fiction book and re-wrote those until they took on a form that made sense to me. I attended monthly critique group meetings, reviewing and discussing the work of other writers and putting my works-in-progress into their hands. I read books. I went to conferences.
I am far from extraordinary. This is what a writer does.
Then, shortly after I signed that beautiful contract (which did not (yet) increase my wealth by even one penny), the editing process began anew. You'd think it would be a piece of cake, since I'd already revised the book by myself and with the help of my critique group, and continued tweaking it even after I'd submitted it. But, like an athlete who continues to train, I had continued to write and so I had improved my craft. I'd learned a few things, and exercising my writing muscles had made my writing leaner and stronger -- so much so that there were passages in my much-revised book that I found cringe-worthy.
My editor, bless her heart, sticks to the details of copy editing and a few general rules in the form of do's and don'ts that help me to sharpen the prose without slicing it to bits. And while it's heartening to see how much my writing has improved over time, the editing process is a bit daunting. After all, this is the final step before a real, live audience.
I'm not complaining. This is what a writer does.
In the meantime, I'm also an important plank in the publicity platform. It's like my book is a friend that is coming to visit, and so I must prepare a place for it to stay. In addition, I must also announce its visit to the neighbors and the community-at-large because a book, by nature, isn't something that's meant to be tucked away somewhere. It is meant to be shared.
And I am so looking forward to sharing it. Some days, it seems as though it's all happening so quickly, and there's not enough time, and other days, November seems agonizingly far away. But, like anything else, living it is so much more fascinating, exhausting and exciting than any account can convey. Even now, I alternate between tucking it away, sandwiching it between the mundane tasks of daily existence and other writing projects that I hope will develop into a similar experience, and telling anyone who will listen the latest developments in minute detail.
So thank you for listening. I will keep you posted. Meanwhile, I have some class planning to do because that, too, is what a writer does.