Before I signed on with EBB I was an indie author. I had self-published a series of 5 books. I was really proud of myself. I had done my own editing, hired a cover artist and paid someone to format for me. I only had those two important steps that I didn’t do by myself.
The problem with that is I missed a lot of the problems. I thought self-editing was a great idea. Who knows my book and where I want it to go more than me? Nobody could do a better job than me on making it the story that I envisioned.
Those thoughts were arrogant and unrealistic. While I am the best one to know where the story is heading, that doesn’t mean I can’t use the input of an editor to make it a smooth ride to get there.
The first thing that had to be done when I signed with EBB was editing of my current series. I had to put my trilogy on hold and concentrate on improving the series and making them the best that they can be.
I was disillusioned and panicked at the sight of all the red marks on my book after the first round of edits. I had never been through a full edit before and I was not prepared for the “sea of red” when it arrived. I was overwhelmed and discouraged. I decided the best thing to do was let it sit for a week and come to terms with what needed to be done.
Before I opened the envelope with the edits I read the note attached to the outside. The first sentence instructed me to “breathe when you see the marks.” That is the best advise that I could have gotten. While I knew that my work was not perfect, and that nobody’s ever is, I thought I had done a pretty good job. All the red marks told a different story.
I told myself that this will make me a better writer. I completely agree with that statement. I know that it will make me a better writer, but my faults, bad habits and mistakes are all staring me in the face saying “fix me.” That is a feeling that I was completely unfamiliar with.
As I started on the edits, I realized that it made me look deeper. I had skimmed on some of the scenes. There were questions asked that made me stop and say “I didn’t think of that.” When the editor asked “Why?” my first thought was because that is what happened.
I have added scenes that show you the characters in a more intimate way. You can now relate to them better because you are seeing the motivation behind the action instead of just the action.
I was told that the edits are suggestions and that I don’t have to use them. The editor is just trying to help me to make the book flow better and help the reader to connect with the story. I have kept that in mind while going through the edits (one page at a time so it is not so overwhelming). In the end I am using 99.9% of the edits and adding dialog to show “why.”
The “sea of red” that was so intimidating when it arrived has now evolved into a teacher to show me how to be a better writer and give the readers the best version of my books possible.
Until next week keep in mind that constructive criticism is not designed to intimidate or disillusion you, it is to help you evolve and be the best you can.