I finally had my story out of my head and onto the paper. Phew, what a relief! Yet, even though it had seemed mentally draining at times, the next phase of the publishing process was even more challenging and patience testing for me. I had no idea how to go about the next step of finding a publisher, but before that, I had to make sure my manuscript was up to par and had no mistakes in it. It was not easy having to listen to comments on what needed to be changed. Nobody likes to hear criticism and I was no different. I felt like my soon-to-be-born baby was being smudged and rearranged in a way that should not be. My story was my own and I felt it should stay that way!
For my first book, I had a friend of mine, as well as my husband, look over the manuscript. The English teacher from the church's private school also looked it over for me, plus a few other young people I handed the story out to see what their reactions would be to the story. As I mentioned in the previous blog, it took a total of two years to see the final result, and one of those years was spent in just editing. It was a long time in coming, but a necessary thing in the journey of writing.
With my second book, I went through a different publisher than the first (that will be the next part of the journey) and in that process I hired an editor from the company to edit my manuscript. I must say I will never do that again. I was not happy with the result and I feel like it was not worth paying for that service. He did not make many changes (maybe he did not find any???) except for completely changing all my Bible verses to a different version than I wanted. In the end it became more work for me than I needed and I had to undo all that he had done. Maybe he should have checked with me first?
It was an easier decision for me when it came to my third book, because I knew what I did not want to do. I had my friend look over it again as well as a few other people. The whole process was tedious and boring, at least to me, but one that was well worth the effort and definitely needs to be done.
So, when you are ready to edit here are a few things to remember:
Be prepared to read your story over and over again, up to the point where you think you know every line by heart and do not need to even look at it any more. This is the time when you need to put it aside, give it to someone else to look over, and take a breather. As the author, you will never reach the point where it is perfect. You will always find something you can write better, something you can describe more colorfully, or some sentence or scene that you can tweak to be a little more exciting. New eyes are necessary to see what you have learned to overlook. When we see something too much, we tend to see what we want to see and no longer notice the mistakes. Always remember to write what is on your heart, letting God speak through your words. You never know who's life you will touch or who you will bless by following His path.