Sometimes I feel more like a juggler than a writer. I timed the completion of Lucy Harker perfectly to give me two days off before diving into the copy edits of Chaos Hunt. I spent those two days taking some deep breaths and setting up everything that happens next.
If you’re not familiar with how a book gets edited, I run it through three different edits. Once I have the story completely written and polished to the best of my abilities, I send it to a developmental editor. The DE, as I think of them, reads my story and tells me on a high level what works and what doesn’t. Does the plot hold together? Or does it fall apart? They suggest how you can fix it and make sure the story hangs together. These are mostly high-level changes, looking at the book as a whole. This usually takes a month or two, and I have to allow more time depending on how busy my developmental editor is.
After I implement those changes or the changes their feedback suggests to me, I hand it off to a copy editor. Their job is to look at the structure from a sentence and paragraph level. This is about sentence flow, word choice, and internal consistency. There will also be the necessary grammar and spelling corrections, as well as deleting extra spaces that creep in during the various rewrites. Mostly the copy editor is making sure I’m using the correct words for the images and emotions I am trying to create. This process takes about two weeks but again will take longer depending on the availability of the copy editor.
Once the copy edit is done and I’ve accepted or rejected the changes, I send it off to a proofreader. The proofreader’s job is to read over the story and make sure every i is dotted, every t crossed. All the punctuation marks are where they are supposed to be, and every word is spelled correctly. This will take about a week (say it with me) or longer depending on the availability of the proofreader.
Now is when I turn my story into an actual book. This whole paragraph could be several blog posts. During the time while waiting for the edits to return, I will have hired a cover artist and should have finalized the cover. I will have written back cover copy. Once I have the final page count, usually determined by the copy edit, I will send it to the cover artist and they will create the wraparound for any hard copy versions I will be publishing. I will assign an ISBN number and file for copyright. I will put all the assets together to create a file and start uploading them to the various sites that will sell the book.
(And I’m aware of assetless preorders. I’m not brave enough to do that yet because my experience with family emergencies delaying my writing. I want to make sure that I can make the release date that I announce.)
To give you an idea of where I am in this process, and why I chose the juggling metaphor, I have just completed the copy edit for Chaos Hunt and have the proofread scheduled for the end of the month. Lucy Harker needs at least one more draft before it’s ready to show it to the developmental editor. Chaos Kin is still being loosely outlined, mostly making notes about what threads I had in Chaos Hunt and Chaos Wolf I will need to tie up. There are also a few short stories kicking around in my head as well that will be written.
So there will be an announcement in March, barring any new family emergencies. And assuming that I can keep all these balls in the air.