How to Publish a Novel: Part 2

It feels like walking into a room full of flowers because you smell the beauty before you see it. I can smell this book and I can’t wait to show you the cover that emanates the beautiful story. Focus for a moment on your sense of smell instead of sight for a long breath in, hold it, and out, and again breath in, relish it, and out. I love the smell of books and of libraries, don’t you??

I’m excited to share my coming soon novel with you. This has been such a journey. I have learned that going from writer to author take a lot of work. This is my story and it may not be the same process for everyone, but it helps me stay organized and hopefully you learn something too.

This is post two of my eight part blog mini-series.

Part 2: What is an Editor anyways

So I finished writing the first draft, and I felt amazing! Caught up in the accomplishment, I vainly thought, there can’t be much more left to do before I can publish! I’ll just read through it a few times, fix these spelling and grammar errors and done! There were tools out there like Grammarly and ProWritingAid. Just a little clean up and I’ll be done. No one likes to edit anyways, right?

Boy was I wrong.

I started researching what published authors do for editing. I found so many surprises.

There aren’t people that edit your manuscript. There are teams of people that edit your manuscript. I learned on there are three to seven different kinds of editors: Development Editors, Structural Editors and Copy Editors.

I had no idea there were so many different ways to read a novel. But it started to make sense to separate your mindset. Think: today, I am looking for world building holes. The next week, I am looking for flow of chapter to chapter POV. Then, I am fixing grammar. It made sense, but it immediately extended my “quick editing” to at least 3 edit version. Okay, fine.

I haven’t hire anyone. But I am on edit version 6 now. Here are a few other things I learned:

Tip 1: Know Your Genre

I naively believed the 50,000 word novel definition of NaNoWriMo. Apparently, there are heavier expectations out there for science fiction and 70,000 is a lower limit. I also learned that YA (young adult) is a big category, but does my novel fit into it? By my definition (which by no means should be trusted) is that a YA novel has a “realizing who you are”, usually younger 18- characters (but doesn’t have to be). My novel is not that. My characters are firmly planted in their ways and adults.

Tip 2: Use Grammar for the Reader not the Character

Maybe this is obvious to others, but write properly. Always. Not like this blog. Not like you speak. Readers are reading and it’s easier to read, flow between sentences, if the grammar is correct. I used language like “sumthin’ ta drink” instead of “something to drink” to convey my characters personality, style, and [lack of] grace. I learned you shouldn’t do that. Stay true to English (if that is your language to publish in).

Tip 3: Have a version system

Oh bother. When do you start to name a draft a final draft? Then it becomes final final draft? And where did you save it and which “final” version did you give to who? The worst problem is when you come across something that you thought you fixed once before — but was that v3 not v4 that I changed it? I begrudgingly learned that I needed to slow down. One edit type at a time. Save it. Back it up again. And start the process over again. For me, I am always working on vF, and to make edits, I always know which one to change. If I send something out or move to another edit type, I do a Save As… increment the version to v5, and then keep going on vF. Not sure if it’s the best way or not!

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