From Alpha to Editing

by Doc Coleman on April 16, 2014 · 8 comments

in Novels

I didn’t post last week. Bad blogger! But there were reasons for it. Things were actually quite busy, and what time I didn’t have taken up by work had to be dedicated to sleep. And I still didn’t get enough sleep.

So, a lot of work last week, but a lot to show from it, too. I finally had to end the Alpha Read, as my last Alpha Reader wasn’t able to give feedback on the last few chapters of the book due to the distractions of moving to a new house, caring for a family, holding down gainful employment, and other unimportant things like that. ;D Heh. Actually, I don’t blame him for where he placed his priorities, I just regret not getting  his reaction on the last chapters of The Perils of Prague. I did get some feedback from my weapons consultant and made a few changes on how firearms are handled in the book. With these final edits, the Third Draft of Perils has finally drawn to a close!

And I did one other thing last week.

I hired an editor.

After careful consideration, and much financial finagling, I decided to cancel the Beta Read for Perils, at least for now. Instead, I decided that I could afford to hire an editor and get some good advice on my book.

osws_logo_smallThis move was largely in part to the stand up of the One-Stop Writer Shop, the latest business venture of Tee Morris and Philippa Ballantine. Tee and Pip have partnered with a number of other writers to provide a variety of editing, production, and marketing services for independent authors. This isn’t a vanity publisher, but a collection of freelance production artists who are available to do work at polishing and producing your book in the areas where you don’t have the skills or the time. Since their market segment is the independent author, their prices are very reasonable.

So, this past Sunday, I finished my edits and sent the manuscript off to my editor. She is working on it now and tells me she should have edits back to me in about a week. After months spent on the Alpha read, that quick a turnover just boggles my mind. Of course, the proof will be in what I get back from her. She edited a sample chapter before I hired her, so I have an idea of her editing style, but it will be something different to see that applied to the whole book.

And it will be interesting to see how much the book bleeds. I know I have some great characters and some amazing scenes, but I think I could do better on the pieces that connect those bits of awesome. Having someone point out those bits can mean getting back a manuscript that looks like it is playing the part of the latest victim of a particularly vicious serial killer. Another potential problem is not getting enough editing. If the comments are too broad or two vague, they can do more harm than good. At this point, I have little left to do but watch and wait.

I haven’t decided where I go from here. I expect there will be edits and a Fourth Draft after I get the book back from the editor. I may cancel the Beta Read, or I may send the Fourth Draft out to the Beta Readers, providing I can still get folks to volunteer. At the very least, I should get someone to proofread the Fourth Draft to see if I’ve inadvertently added more problems. Once the text is finalized, I can send it off to the layout guy. Yes, I think I have a layout guy. I’ve seen samples of his work. He’s pretty good. I just haven’t been able to contract him until I get my text finished. Send the text off to layout, and get the cover finalized and I’ll be ready to put it all into Create Space and pick a publication date.

So, things are moving forward, but there’s no telling how the schedule is going to fall out. Wish me luck!

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Melissa (My words and pages) April 16, 2014 at 9:09 am

Moving along splendidly. Good for you, hiring an editor. That’s a great thing. And Tee’s creation in the One Stop is amazing. I hope it helps many.

Here I thought I missed you last week, I was a bit busy and off line more than one.


2 Doc Coleman April 16, 2014 at 9:27 am

Last week was just too busy for me to make any time to post. I’m sure I’ll make up the missing post sometime. ;D

As far as the creation of the One Stop Writer Shop, I think Pip actually gets the credit for coming up with the idea. But then again, they’re a duo act, so they can do things like that.



3 David in Arbutus April 17, 2014 at 5:38 am

Lovely to know such a high-class editing shop exists. I may, at some point, need their services. I think what you receive from the editor, if she is doing her job, will be your final draft, with some small revisions unless you disagree with her cuts, edits, etc. Learning to let it go, and let the editor do her job is one of the most difficult lessons of working with another professional. I know that my text always benefitted from accepting editing changes, rather than to try to one up the editor, or take a stance, as some writers do, of “I know best, I’m gonna change it back to what it was.”


4 Doc Coleman April 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm

A lot will depend on if she just makes the changes herself, or leaves me notes for me to make the changes. And if I like the changes. I’ve worked with an editor before who suggested changes that broke the tone of my story. I proposed my own changes and things went fine, but it required a second review pass. In that case the editor loved my changes. We’ll see soon enough.

I guess editors are like dance partners. If you find one that you really mesh with well, keep them at all costs.



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