BTS044, Revision is Like Pulling Teeth and Working with a Professional Editor | September Author Diary Update
BTS044, Revision is Like Pulling Teeth and Working with a Professional Editor
I hope you are all well and are staying safe.
Revision is like pulling teeth.
Well, that’s how it feels to me, at the moment. I’m so over revising this story. But at the same time, I feel so insecure about this novella. Long gone is that innocent, naive Amelia, who was excited to publish her first piece of fiction. Perhaps, I know better now. Or, more realistically, I’m more cynical. I know what awaits me if I screw up and publish a book with plot holes, however minor.
In this behind the scenes author diary episode, I discuss the highs and lows of my revision process, what prompted me to move into the professional editing phase and my struggles with writer’s insecurity. Yes, spoiler alert, I’m riddled with it. And, I share an exciting milestone with Le Villain Book Covers.
Without further ado, let get on with the show.
About the Episode
Just to let you know, this episode was recorded on Tuesday the 12th of October, so this show is primarily me looking back at September. If you’re on YouTube, you’ll notice that I’ve gone back to an audio-only version of the podcast. I’ve had to pull the plug on the video podcast episode because I couldn’t do everything, and something had to go.
If you’re new to this podcast, I want to say a huge thank you for stopping by and trying out my show. To those of you who have been faithfully listening, thank you for regularly listening in and supporting me; your support means more to me than you know.
In the early hours of Monday, the 6th of September, I made a decision about whether I would tie up the minor plot thread that none of the beta readers noticed. This decision promoted me to continue the revisions on the Candidate after getting my manuscript back from the paid beta readers in August. That day, I made revisions based upon the remaining elements on my revision checklist that I created in August. If you want to know more about that checklist, listen to episode BTS043.
For the sake of clarity, the revisions I made didn’t affect every chapter, but there were a few. In terms of plot and characterisation, only eight chapters needed rewrites. I believe this is due to my extensive pre-planning and outlining phase. During this early stage, I mapped out the events leading up to the crime, including the villain and victims timeline, motivations for all suspects, and what they are lying and being honest about in the interviews. Those tasks made a difference to the revision phase.
Feeling the Fear
While I was panicking in August, I had contemplated hiring another beta reader, the one that read Missing before I wrote the second edition. But I think I’m just stalling and putting off the inevitable, pressing publish. There’s a real fear being up within me as a step closer to the finish line; it’s a fear that I didn’t have before Missing. A part of me misses that naive enthusiastic writer.
It’s Like Pulling Teeth
After the one-pass revision ended, I dived straight into performing line edits using Grammarly and Pro Writing Aid*. The line edit took eight hours, and I completed it in three sittings. But, I had to take breaks and devote time to Le Villain Book Covers, but more on that later. Quite recently, I reached the point where I had completed a self line edit. After that, I opened my manuscript in Authors.ai and AutoCrit, and I felt overwhelmed.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to do next. The sheer thought of doing another round of revisions makes me want to gauge my eyes out with a spoon. I know; I’m a little overdramatic.
Off to see the Wizard
At this point, I need someone to tell me what is wrong with my manuscript on a sentence level. So, I submitted my manuscript to my editor. A few hours later, I got a response from the company saying that I’ve been scheduled with a different editor to Missing on a specific date. This response was strange because, on the website, the editor for Missing is listed as available. I replied and asked if I could stick to the same editor as last time. Now, I’m just waiting for a response. Eventually, I received the good news that I was now in the queue to work with the same editor as Missing.
The Waiting Game
While I waited for the first round of line edits for The Candidate to be completed, I decided to continue working on my other writing projects. I wrote and edited the next two scenes in Entitled to Murder, and I rewrote scene fifty-three in Duplicity, which is the second book in the James Lalonde series. And I also used this time to catch up on my podcasting tasks. On top of all of this, I made several attempts to contact Frostbite Publishing to hire a beta reader, but after getting zero response back, I turned to Fiverr* and hired a beta reader that I had never worked with before. Insecurity prompted me to hire this third beta reader. Right now, I’m so worried that I’ve written a terrible book; fingers crossed, I get helpful feedback on plot, characterisation, and pacing.
Line Editing Begins
On the last day of September, I received the first round of line edits from my editor. That same day, I went through and accepted all of the tracked changes; those changes were the more straightforward changes to implement. Think commas, grammatical errors, and over-usage of words. Anything that needed a little more thought, I skipped over with the plan to tackle these on another day. After this, I went through the manuscript page by page and started working on the edits that required more of my time. In total, I spent four hours working through the line edits, and I still have pages left to edit.
Le Villain Book Covers
During the first three weeks in September, I created three premade cozy mystery trilogy covers; that’s nine separate covers in all. Each set had a different theme. First, I created a small town themed trilogy, think a modern-day Miss Marple. After that trilogy was sold, I realised that I needed to design more covers for my store because the options were getting a little low. So next, I created a paranormal or witch-themed cozy mystery trilogy, just in time for Halloween. The next day, I designed a cottage garden-themed cozy mystery trilogy.
And now for the good news.
As I shared earlier, I sold the set of three small-town cozy mystery covers in ebook and paperback. The morning I sold those covers, I started a 20% off end of summer sale on Etsy store and my website; this sale will last until September 22. After this sale, I realised that Le Villain Book Covers is now making a tiny profit. Of course, it’s double digits, but I’m no longer in the red. When I say I’m making a profit, I’m including all the costs in setting up my business, including web hosting, plugins, stock images, Etsy fees, stripe fees, and other expenses. In order to achieve this, I had to sell two sets of three premade covers and two logo designs.
So, why all of this detail?
I didn’t want to give the vanity metrics.
Sharing that I made close to £500 in sales but negating to state that my expenses were a little under £400 is dishonest. No matter how you frame it, deliberately leaving out vital information is dishonest, and the keyword here is deliberate. Even as I’m saying this, I’m wondering if I included the cost of my domain name in the start-up expenses for Le Villain Book Covers. But that’s not deliberate; it’s an oversight.
You get it.
After working in finance for a little over eleven years, this is the one thing that bothers me about the indie author community. Climbing back off my soapbox now.
So, that’s all of the tasks I completed in terms of writing, book marketing, and email marketing. By the end of October, I want to be finished with the professional editing process and be ready to publish the Candidate. The next episode of this podcast will be a bonus episode where I interview Michaelbrent Collings, and we discuss how he writes his novels.
If you have any questions or have tips on book marketing that you would love to share with me, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Thank you for listening, and happy reading and writing, everybody.
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I’m Amelia. I write Mystery Novels under the pen name A. D. Hay. And, I’m the author of Missing, the first book in the James Lalonde series. On this blog, I help new writers to finish their first draft, prepare their manuscripts for professional editing, and when they get stuck in the first draft phase or are confused about the revision process. Right now, I’m editing and preparing my soon to be published mystery novels, Duplicity, 24 Hours, and Immunity for publication.