Today I'm moving on to the second installment of my After "The Call" series, where we discuss all the work that continues after you sell your book.
I recently wrapped up my line edits for my first Harlequin Special Edition book, 'Twas the Week Before Christmas. I sold this book quite a while ago, and I've written a few more since, and therefore it had been some time since I read over the manuscript. When my editor sent it back to me, it was as if I was reading it for the first time! In some ways, this was to my advantage, as it allowed me to really step back and review the book with a more critical eye.
The line edit is essentially a marked-up copy of your book, wherein your editor will tighten any prose, question anything that seems confusing, suggest deletions, word replacements, or maybe ask you to elaborate on a specific point. Whereas the revisions are more broad in scope, the line edit is much more detailed. And see, the thing is that I could just get nit picky for weeks... But ah, see, that's another thing that comes After "The Call": deadlines.
I learned a few things going through my line edit - things like words I over use. The exercise itself was great, and it will only improve my future work before I ever get to the line edit stage. It was also reassuring to have the opportunity to scrutinize the manuscript again and to be able to make changes when asked, or where I thought just needed to happen for my long-term sanity.
I spent more hours than I had anticipated on that line edit, knowing this was the last chance I had to change a word here, delete a sentence there. The AA's (Author Approvals) have landed in my inbox, and it won't be the same experience. For the most part, I will be forced to sit on my hands, trust what's there, and live with it. So why does that somehow feel like a greater challenge than writing the book in the first place?