The Hard Way – the editing step

The name of my first manuscript is currently titled The Hard Way. I’ve been struggling to take the step of having a professional editor look at it. I’ve been checking on different editing sites and Facebook pages to understand how much it will cost. I got a little overwhelmed with the fact that it might be a little out of my price range right now. Wanting to get to the publishing step of my journey, not being able to afford it made me consider whether I really needed to do it or not. I thought, the beta readers that I asked to read it for me should have given me adequate feedback, right? Coming back to the fact that it should be done, I started spinning my wheels to come up with a way to get the money put together for it. With all of the family expenses we have, I wasn’t seeing it to even be possible until our youngest son graduates from high school in three years. This potential road block on my journey to publish a novel has been really upsetting me a lot lately.

By checking out different writing sites, Facebook groups and author pages, I’ve been trying to figure out how I would go about finding the right editor. I want to find one that I can build a relationship with, and not someone who is going to do a onetime read for me and then leave the scene. I know that I’m looking for an editor that works in my genre of YA/Middle Grade. They will be knowledgeable about how the story should read and what is required for the audience that I’m ultimately trying to get my book out to.

After thinking about how important my publishing goal is to me, I took a big step yesterday and started searching for an editor to see if I could make this work. Being a writer with aspirations of publishing a book someday, I wanted to take the right steps to get this done. Many published authors talk about how important it is to have an editor involved in your work. If it is the right person, they are able to collaborate with you to produce a successful book for the readers. The trained second set of eyes can see a lot of things the writer can’t see, like ideas or information that may be missing from the flow of the story. I realize how important it is to have those trained set of eyes on the manuscript before it becomes a book and goes out into the world to the reader.

Yesterday when I started my search, I noticed that some editors offered a free read through and critique of a few pages to provide the writer with a sample of how they edit. I think that this could be a good way to interview an editor. I looked through one of my Facebook Writing Groups and found a YA/Middle Grade editor that I decided to contact. Sending the initial e-mail set the process in motion. I e-mailed back and forth with her and it seemed to be going as expected. I sent her what she required from my manuscript for her to take a look and see what kind and how much editing it may need, in her professional opinion. I’m excited to hear what she has to say. Maybe a little scared too. But it feels good to make that step, a step I needed to take to move my project forward.

I’m sure there are things that will need to be changed and or cut out to make the story cleaner for the reader. A little anxiety wells up when I think about how much of the story the editor thinks doesn’t need to be there, but I feel that it is important to be included. I saw all of the work it took to get the story on the page, but I have to remember that the editor is going to have a good idea about how it should go. These conflicting feelings are a normal part of the process that all writers go through when they send their stories out to be edited.

To make myself vulnerable and put my work out for the masses to see has definitely taken some courage to do. I started with a few friends and had them read my story, which wasn’t too hard for me. We got together for coffee and they gave me their thoughts. Then I decided to present it to my book club for our monthly club selection. I felt a little more anxious about doing that one. They commented and critiqued it during our book club meeting and that was a bit intimidating. But I’m so glad that I did it. Now I’m working on finding a professional editor critique it for me, which is a bigger step than the other editing and feedback opportunities, but those opportunities gave me some experience going into this one.

I got to the point with my own self editing that if I read it again, I either wouldn’t be able to see anything more to change, or I would make too many revisions to things that didn’t need to be changed. In my case, the editor is going to bring objectivity and knowledge about getting a book ready for publication, which is what I need at this stage in the process. I’ve heard that writers must develop a thick skin to accept the critiques and rejections that are received from the editors and critics. But those are usually offset by the readers who love and enjoy the story. Not everyone is going to like what we create, but it must put out there if we want the story to be heard.

I was originally planning to post a segment of my WIP for the blog today. Now I think I’ll wait until I’ve had an editor take a good look at it!

A to Z blog summary

What a process! 26 blog entries. Each one starting with a different letter of the alphabet. Starting with airplane and ending with zero.

I learned a lot of information through the research part of the entries. I also determined that I like the creative writing part better than the research part. That’s why on some of the entries, I took the information I found researching and created a story to illustrate it. Like right now, I’m writing this off of the top of my head and it seems to just want to flow right out of me. I love my creative flow, when it is working for me.

Here is a listing of all twenty-six of the blog subjects for 2015.

Airplane, Baseball, Cotton Candy, Dog, Elephant, Fishing, Gladiolus, Hula Hoop, Igloo, Jumping Jacks, Krispy Kremes, Lilacs, Mystery, Nightingale, Overture, Pecan Pie, Quonset Hut, Road Runner, Seattle, Transistor Radio, Unicorn, Volleyball, Walnut Grove, Xanadu, Yo-Yo, and Zero.

The journey through the month was fun. I hoped to finish it all in May, but I think having it done on June 3rd isn’t bad for doing that and so many other things that kept me busy in my day-to-day life. Working a non writing full-time career, Sam and I running from one baseball game to another as we manage both Max and Mitch being on both a school ball team and a summer travelling team. It is what life should be about though. Full of fun experiences and memories. We’re having a great time with all of it.

I enjoyed this challenge. It really got the blood flowing in my mind and kept things hopping on my blog. Just like working on a writing project, this gave me something to write about everyday and get the creative juices going. With the subjects being different from what I may normally write about, it did bring  some new followers to my blog. For those of you that joined the journey, welcome and I hope you enjoy the ride.

My favorite blog posts in this A to Z Blog session were Lilacs because it reminded me of my Mom. It also started my thread about Lila and Sally which was continued in Unicorn. Walnut Grove gave me the background to one of my favorite shows growing up, Little House on the Prairie.

Hula Hoop is going to turn into a feature that I’m going to write about EclecticHoops my friend Jennifer Jensen’s company. She sells and makes custom hula hoops in California.

There was a lot of work put into this project. I was able to get it all done with a little time here and a little time there. It helped me to prioritize my writing in my day-to-day life. A lot of the writing took place during lunch breaks at work and at many different baseball fields. Thanks to my smart phone, I was able to put the posts together on the run.

Other project status updates – I have a few readers doing a read through on my manuscript called The Hard Way. Looking to have the feedback on it in July and then get it ready to publish in an e-book format sometime this fall.

And, A Matter of Words is the name of the book that my short story will be published in this fall. It will be in a book with 20-25 other short stories. I will be sure to put information on the blog about when it is published and how you can get a copy.

What is next for the blog? Maybe another short story developed in stages? Maybe some updates on the next novel project? We’ll just have to see how the creative flow moves me.