Hello! Another “lovely” day of putting myself in order. By this I mean, now that I have finally been able to push myself to finish my children’s book, I can go ahead and sort out all of those stories, finished and unfinished that are lurking in my writing folder. It is something that must be done. I groan at the thought of going through the editing again, but I need to do it. I promised myself I will not find excuses. I will not shop online..(although I am running out of my favorite shampoo which is not sold anywhere outside of Amazon) and! I will not look up names of actors I liked in that black and white movie I saw last night.
I still feel a bit dizzy at all the steps one must take before the manuscript is in good shape to start sending out to prospective agents. I cannot be the only one, that has felt this is a monumental task!
Ah! the process of editing! There are not enough things I can’t say about it. Not here in this forum anyway… So how to start the process right? I know it is hard to sort yourself out, and make sense of where to start and where to stop.
One day I was trying to get ideas on how to go about edit my work. Somewhere I read, that you MUST read, proofread, edit, and rewrite and read again, and! It goes on, and one and on! Until you decidedly start to sort of hate your story. You have to do that to get your first, second, third and maybe fourth draft. Depending on how long and/or intense your story is.
Then when you have your third draft, it can be passed along to family and friends. So that they can help you and point out where it needs work, or edit, or fix grammatical errors etc.
Then another draft its done and you can take a breather (again). Away from the manuscript. Once you have done all the drafting you think necessary. Separate yourself from your “baby” (i.e. your manuscript) and do something “normal” for a change. You know, reply to emails, fold your laundry properly (instead of just shoving all into drawers). Text your friends, let them know you are still alive. Get a manicure, cut the lawn..Whatever has been put on hold when the muse strikes and nothing else matters.
Now, if you wish to, (but advisable) it is time to have it edited by a professional. There are many that can do a professional edit. Do an online search. Get information through writers websites. Like my favorite character says: “Enfin!” (Poirot, Agatha Christie) do your research!
Another thing I learned along my sort of uncertain journey into the writing process, is that you cannot actually fall in love with your story…Beware of this! (but lets face it, don’t we all love what we write?) I understand, that in avoiding such pitfall, helps one to be objective. And not cry like a baby when the person editing your story tells you to lose some of the story line. I know, I know! What we write is from the heart. You cannot just take certain parts of the story.. Is like taking out a piece of you, etc, etc.
But needs must! I am not saying you need to follow such advice to a T. But a conversation has to take place and a mutual understanding on where is best to tweak the story. This will (hopefully) make everyone feel better at the end… or not.
Once you have done all you can and have to, for your manuscript it is time! Yes! its time to send out to prospective literary agents. Or if you are going Indy, then sort yourself out as to how you want to self-publish. Look for the best options for yourself. I am talking prices. Self-publishing is not cheap. But! the alternative is eBook publishing. That is, if this is something you wish to do. Or you can do both. Paper and digital.
There are also established publishing houses, that sometimes, allow for manuscripts to be sent. But again, do a good research. Most of the publishing houses do not allow this. Read their websites, contact information and if necessary call an actual person over their customer service line and ask before you do send out your manuscript.
The process of having your manuscript ready is not hard. But it needs perseverance, patience, and follow thru. I know, most of us tend to put aside that which is unpalatable, or boring, or whatever. We might find a good book we must finish. Or that lovely movie that is now playing. Or the socks from the laundry need to be paired up… But if we really want to make our dream a solid reality, we must. do. the work.
I am attaching a few links that might help you along the way.
The above has lots of freelance services. Excellent prices. From the ubiquitous $5 to above depending on the service you are looking for.
This one, is for digital self-publishing. Easy to use website. If you are interested in their services, download their Smashwords style guide. Its free and it really guides you every step of the way.
This is one of the oldest publications to help writers make their dream come true. I am sure you have heard of them. Their printed edition is one of the most recognized in the market. Their website contains loads of info. Some really good articles, which helps the new writer. Paid services for editing, query letters. Workshops! etc.
A non-profit organization which has been around since 1970. You can sign up to their newsletter. Enter contests, read some insightful information to help along with your writing. This is not just for poets, but for anyone with a creative streak for writing.
I hope I was able to leave some “nuggets of wisdom.” Or at the least, with enough information to get your lovely self, moving in the right direction.
Until I write again,
“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
― Madeleine L’Engle