In a previous post, I promised to share my experience with the editing process after signing with Barking Rain Press. It’s important to note that my manuscript had been professionally edited prior to submission. This included a Developmental Edit (plot, character, timeline) and a Copyedit (punctuation, grammar, spelling).
Now, you might be thinking: Why go to the expense of hiring an editor if the publishing company will provide one? The reality is most of us don’t see our own mistakes (yes, even those of us, like me, who earn our living as editors). Competition is fierce. When it’s time to start sending your work out into the world, you want it to be as polished as possible.
But back to the publisher: They will almost certainly have a list of required edits, which should be clearly spelled out in the contract, along with deadlines for completion. A reputable publisher will also assign the editor (paid for by the publisher) to work with their authors. In my case, I was given the privilege to work with Narielle Living.
The first step in my latest journey was to convert The Hanged Man’s Noose from a 270-page word document into 54 separate .rtf files—one for every chapter. I won’t lie to you. It was tedious and time-consuming work. I also understood it was essential: each chapter is essentially treated like a short story within a much larger framework. This is much more than dotting some i’s and crossing some t’s. This is making sure the story works. The plot works. The characters stay believable.
When it comes to the actual editing, most editors (including the ones I have hired) work with MS Word Track Changes. Since I’ve been working as a freelance writer/editor since 2003, I’m very familiar the software, but if you’re not (and hope to be published), it’s a good thing to get comfy/cozy with. Basically, every change to the manuscript—whether it’s adding a comma, taking one out, changing a sentence, or completely revising an entire chapter—is tracked. Each tracked change can then be accepted or rejected. Comments can also be added, allowing for dialogue between editor and writer. Here’s an example of how a small change can make a big difference (click on image to view larger file):
So, that’s the editing process in a nutshell. I’m not sure how other writers feel, but I loved every minute of it, from accepting the addition of a comma, to learning that there is no bacon in a Caesar salad. (Seriously, who knew? Where I live, it’s a standard addition!) Under Narielle’s careful tutelage, The Hanged Man’s Noose was made ready for the next steps: The publisher’s proof galley, cover art, and ARCs (Advance Review Copies). Stay tuned! We’re almost at the finish line.