Welcome to the RADblog!
I’m glad you decided to stop by today, because today, we’re continuing our short series for February. The rest of the month, we’re talking about the three steps it takes to go from idea to published book, starting from the very beginning—and I do mean the very beginning. I mean, we started out by talking about writing the book (which, of course, is the very best place to start).
Why are we talking about this? Well, because my latest novel, Anialych: People of Sand, is now available for pre-order, and I thought this might be a useful companion topic for all of you. And, like I said, it’s only three steps. Nice and easy, when you boil it down.
Step 2: Edit Your Heart Out (and then edit some more)
After step one, you’re book is done. You’ve written it. The hard part’s over.
Or so you thought.
Really, you’ve just stepped into a whole new world of difficulty. Because, now that you’ve written the book, it’s time to perfect it. Time to take that book, and rip it to shreds. Not literally, of course (I hope), but in the sense that you’ll now need to take it and go through it with a fine-toothed comb, looking for errors and removing them until you’re satisfied (though, for many of us, that never actually happens).
Oh, and you won’t be the only one involved, in this step.
It’s starts with you, of course. It starts with you sitting down and taking that time that was once used for writing, for editing. That time that had been precious to you for the writing of words upon the page will now be appropriated for something far more difficult, in most cases. But something just as rewarding, when it comes right down to it.
Of course, you don’t actually have to take your writing time to do this. If you’re like me, and a lot of other writers, you’ll now add in another slot of set aside time for editing, so that your editing time won’t eat into your writing time. But whatever the case, you must make sure you edit.
See, editing is what takes a written book and polishes it to a high shine. It’s the time you take to remove repetitive words, to fix the holes in your plot, to make sure your characters and places and actions are jumping off the page like you want them to—like they should.
At the beginning of this step, you’ll be the only one going through your manuscript, looking for necessary changes, hunting for things that might not be right. Maybe you’ll even send your book to a trusted friend, for their notes on certain things you’re not sure about. If you’re really brave, you might even send it to some people you don’t know, to beta read your manuscript, so you can find out what readers do and do not enjoy.
But in the end, it all boils down to this: you need to send it to a professional, too.
For some of you I’m sure that’s not what you wanted to hear. You were excited to learn that you can do this editing thing yourself, so you’ll never have to trust someone else with your precious book. But that’s just not the case, and I’m not just saying that because I’m an editor. I’m saying that because I’m a writer, and because I know it’s true.
We all need editors. They’re here to help us, to help our work, and to make our books better—so readers will also like our books.
That’s the cusp of this step, the part it all leads up to. Edit your book yourself, until you can’t find any errors yourself. Then send it to someone else, someone professional. If that means you have to save up for a few months or talk to an editor about a payment plan, so be it. It’ll be worth it, in the long run.
Whatever it takes, to get to the point where you’re confident enough to say you’re ready to publish this thing.
And believe me, that’s a big step.
Associate Editor, etc.