Welcome back to my “What’s Next” series. Today we’ll be tackling edits. .. So here we are. You’ve written the book, edited the book, farmed it out to various betas, submitted the book. Hell, you’ve signed your contract and even started on the cover work. So all that leaves is… the dreaded edits.
But really, they’re not a thing to dread. Sure, someone will be picking apart your baby, but only in the interest of making it better. Usually, that falls under two umbrellas.
Developmental edits, which go over your story line to make sure that it makes sense, is consistent, and really strikes a chord with the readers. You’ll typically see comments in the margin of your document about these, highlighted paragraphs, or overall suggestions at the beginning of certain sections.
Listen to them. Read them. Don’t freak out. Take a couple of days to think about them. Though you might be stuck with a ton of rewriting to do, in almost every case it will add something to your story that was MISSING.
Next, line edits. These are grammar and punctuation edits, corrections of overused words, etc. These make the book readable. I will admit, I typically accept all of these. My punctuation is shit and I have tons of crutch words that I try to weed out of my books only to find that I’ve developed another.
Feel free to debate a certain point with your editor if you feel strongly about it, but overall, they almost always know better. There will be certain instances where, in the middle of a fight scene, the editor wants to talk about a cat that made a small cameo at one point, and … maybe it breaks up the continuity of the scene. (This totally happened to a friend of mine). It’s your right as an author to stick to your guns if you really believe there’s an issue with a suggestion.
However… and this is a big however. Your publisher often has the final say. So, if you have an issue with an edit, be polite. You can be honest, but don’t be a dick. It may impact your future contracts. Just sayin’.
Once you’ve edited, take final read through. Out loud if you can. It will help you to catch small errors that your brain just automagically corrects as you go along. This might be the last chance to polish your baby. Take every opportunity to make it great!
Next week I’ll talk about promotional pieces!