Where they stop, nobody knows.
Okay—so they eventually stop–when the book hits the shelves.
What am I talking about?
I’m neck deep in a heavily-noted revision at the moment, so naturally that’s what’s on my mind.
Readers may be surprised to discover published books go through several rounds of editing before they hit the local bookshelves. At Harlequin Love Inspired, the author is part of three of those edits, with a fourth and final proofreading. Other houses and indie publishers may have different schedules, but here’s a peek into mine.
First is the dreaded R word—revisions. This is the toughest part for me. I’ve been writing long enough where I often don’t hit this stage, but once in a while, like now, certain plot points or goals/motivations/conflicts are off the mark of what the editor wanted to see, and in a sense, it’s back to the drawing board, not starting from scratch, but working with the finished product to make it shine.
Rub on, rub off. Buff, buff, buff. Scrub. Polish. Take a breath. Buff some more.
Next are the line and copy edits. At Harlequin, these are usually done at the same time, but by different editors (my editor does the copy editing and they freelance out the line editing.) Copy editing is another substantive, thorough edit, addressing any smaller plot holes or inconsistencies. The line editor is the grammar expert and timeline checker.
The last part that the author sees are the galleys, also called author alterations. This is the formatted book. At this point changes are minimal. I’m only looking for major errors and typos. I like to send this version to my Kindle so I can read it like a book. Yeah, I know. It is a book. But after I’ve worked through the manuscript so many times, my eyes skip over mistakes, and I catch errors better if I’m reading on my Kindle.
The next time I see my manuscript, it’s in the box of author copies that the nice guy in the brown uniform delivers to my front porch, and then on the shelf at Walmart, all polished and pretty with its cowboy/baby cover.
At least until I start the next book…
Deb Kastner’s next novel is The Cowboy’s Baby Blessing, out June 20th.