I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I have a fabulous editor and we’re becoming more in-synch, learning each others ways. But an editor is a long-term commitment. I have one book published and four more in the works, so I have a huge stake in this relationship. I’m still figuring out what to send and when… a couple chapters so she sees where I’m going, then the entire manuscript. Or maybe the whole thing at once. Does she need my book bible, the cast of characters and their background, timeline, locations in the book. Or would she just like to look at the story first, then go back and line edit, making sure I’ve got good continuity. I’m sure we’ll get it all straightened out before I’m ready with the second book.
And when do you know that the book you have is your best attempt? When do you stop editing? In my debut novel after publication, a friend pointed out two stupid mistakes, both names of well known people. Why did I… or any of the people reading this book before publication… not catch these? Well, I don’t know about the others, but after writing 17 versions of this story, my brain was just seeing what it wanted to see. That’s why that last proofread by someone other than yourself is so important. One last look for that ‘a’ that should be ‘an’, the ‘he’ that should be ‘she’. Or in my case “Indian Jones’ who should have been Indiana Jones. Color me embarrassed.
This brings me to my current conundrum. I can’t stop editing the stupid book. After I took care of the two corrections in the digital book and uploaded a new file to Amazon, I went on to proofing the print edition that Create Space sent me. I loved the cover but when I opened to the copyright data page, I realized that I’d left the digital phrases in but had forgotten to include the wording specific to the print version. I also decided I hated the format and font of my chapter headings. Hey, they look different on a paper page than they do on a computer screen. So this started me off on not just proofing but changes, a few awkward passages here, a few point of view changes there. Before too long I had pages of corrections. Now unfortunately I need to match the digital file back to the print pages. And then another file upload. Sorry Amazon. That’s where I am now. About 2/3 way through proofing and making notes on the print book. Of course uploading the new digital text to Amazon is no problem, but I’m going to have to go back to square one for the print book now, formatting the pages, the headers, re-inserting the images… What was going to take me a couple of days, is now taking me more than a week. But I’m hoping the book, both digital and print comes out the other side, better… for Indiana Jones sake as well as my own.
Have any of you experienced this ‘stop me I need to get off this editing wheel’? Is it easy for you to say, ‘stick a fork in me, I’m done’?