Welcome back to A Look at a Book! Thanks for continuing on with me to the next segment. I’m bringing some information to everyone out there, writer and non-writer alike, so that you can get a feel for what happens during the process or writing, editing, publishing, and marketing a book.
In Part 2, we’ll take a peek at Editing a Book–what goes into, what comes out of it, and why it’s so important. Here we go!
So the first draft of your book is complete. WOOHOO! I hope that you celebrate somehow. This is a WONDERFUL achievement and one that many people aspire to.
Now comes the next task–EDITING.
Everyone who has ever read a book, seen a movie, or heard a song has encountered some type of hiccup in the work. Whether it’s a misspelled word, a background setting that doesn’t match up, or a wrong note, it shows.
It’s a writer’s job to try their darndest to find all the mistakes and correct them.
But editing is so much more than just finding misspelled words or bad punctuation. It’s about creating a solid flow for your story, making sure the dialogue and descriptions are believable, and of course, making sure the plot makes sense!
This can be just as lengthy of a process as the actual writing. Some people are very well polished and need little editing, others need help digging in and tearing things apart.
So how long should it take someone to edit their book?
Well, think about it this way. When someone is editing a book, they are also reading it. How long does it take you to read a book? A day? A week? A month? Now imagine every time you find something wrong you have to stop and make a note to correct it. You are pulled out of the flow and have to get back into the story. Will that take you twice as long now to read? 3x?
Let’s say the average reader takes 3 weeks to read a book. Let’s then say it only takes them twice as long to edit. That’s six weeks. For one person. A month and a half is already gone where you are not writing, you are simply waiting for someone to tell you what you need fixed.
And what if that person didn’t catch everything? How many others should you have look through/edit your book? 2? 3? 10? And then you have to go through each set of notes and decide what you want to keep, what you want to throw out, and of course how to NOT kill the person who read it for finding things wrong with your book. 🙂
Don’t forget–most editors want to get paid. I mean, they are doing a lot of work to help you out. So let’s say someone only charges $2 a page. Your book is 300 pages. Boom. $600 gone. Don’t forget, you are paying for this out-of-pocket! This is where beta readers/editors can help. Have them go through the book first, making it the best polished version possible, before sending it to a professional editor. And if this is your first book, I HIGHLY recommend getting it professionally edited. But don’t forget, some editors have a wait list. Your book may not even get looked at for a couple of months!
The amount of time is starting to add up. But your readers want your book out now! They’ve already waited 3-9 months for you to write it. (See Part 1: Writing a Book for details.) And now you want them to wait another 6 weeks, or 12, or who knows how much longer??
This pressure can make an author feel like they can’t wait too long. It might make them prematurely publish their book before they’ve really taken in all the editing notes and made the corrections needed. Have any of you ever read a book by someone where there were just too many mistakes for it to be reasonable? Odds are they either didn’t have anyone edit it or got too frustrated with the time and effort and published it before it was ready.
I know it’s hard to make people wait (one of the first things out of people’s mouths when they looked at my first book, ILLUSION, was, “when is the next one out?”), but I also know if you want to have readers like you books, they need to be good quality. And all you readers out there, I hope this helps you realize how much goes into the editing process and why it takes to freakin’ long! LOL!
Stay tuned for A Look at a Book Part 3: Publishing a Book