I can’t believe how long it’s taking me to finish my debut novel. I feel like a tortoise, plugging along, as all the gazelles go whizzing by.
Call me the tortoise of the author world.
I could laugh when I think of how, a couple of years ago, I thought I was finished. But then, after seeing an ad offering a free first chapter developmental edit, I sent off my manuscript and was so impressed with the editor’s work that I hired her to go through my entire manuscript. She said some very nice things but also gave me a lot of food for thought. She was well worth the money.
So it was back to the drawing board! The editor lives downunder, on the other side of the world. It’s amazing, when you think about it.
Although she was full of praise, there were several things she recommended I fix. Between one thing and another, it took me almost another year. I can hardly believe it myself.
Of course there were many interruptions, family things, trips, learning social media etc. Oh yes, and reading lots. You’d think I had all the time in the world.
The good news is that I’ve learned so much in the process of editing. I hadn’t added enough tag lines in dialogue. My book probably read more like a script than a novel. I needed to intersperse more description, but not lose the flow, because that was one thing everybody who had read Where She Belongs commented on positively.
It’s all about the flow.
Another thing I did was to hire a really good cover designer. All of this takes time. It was up to me to search through various photo communities, choose a few pictures I liked, look through book sites for covers I liked. I wanted to do my own cover, but I decided to leave it to the experts.
It feels good when you see your cover; it’s something to work with and it gives the whole thing a feeling of being real.
I then sent the changes back to the editor. She gave me the thumbs up but said I’d need another proof read to catch niggly little issues. This is what I’m doing now.
I’ve transferred my manuscript to my Kindle and am reading through it, line by line. The spacing was a huge issue, so I had to go back into the manuscript, do a search and replace to remove the annoying habit I have of inserting two spaces between sentences. I’ve been updating the manuscript, removing the old version from my Kindle, uploading the newest version, finding other formatting issues etc. repeating the whole procedure. Now it’s looking much better and I’m half way through…and my eyes are heavy from all this screen work.
But I’m almost there. I’ve decided to publish with Amazon. I honestly don’t have the energy to go looking for an agent. Now I’m impatient to see my book in print. I’m tired of making excuses to friends and family who have no idea how long it actually takes.
The good thing is that I can now apply what I’ve learned to the other two novels I’ve half finished. This time I’m prepared to go a bit faster. I’ll never be a gazelle, but I’m leaving the tortoise behind.
Here’s a picture of my book cover. I expect to have it up and running by the end of March at the very latest. .