To my surprise, I received the final edit of the manuscript when I checked my e-mail this morning. As you can imagine, I spent today reading through the comments from my editor, making notes of my own as to what I needed to change based on her suggestions.
The editing process is different for every author and editor relationship, which is why it is important to find an editor with whom you feel completely comfortable. You can see my process for finding my wonderful editor, Elizabeth, in the post entitled Finding the Right Editor for Your Manuscript.
For those unfamiliar with the editing process, I’ll go into a little more detail.
Let the Celebration Begin!
I have written the last line of the book, and it is time to bask in the glory of my own achievement. The celebration is short-lived, however, as this is when the real work begins. Anyone can have a burst of inspiration to write, but a true author knows the actual creation of a book comes in the form of editing.
Critique and Editing
This is the large-scale editing. While some authors choose to forego this part, I am always looking for constructive criticism from my editor. Not only do I know it will make the manuscript better, but also help strengthen my writing in the future.
During this part, my editor makes comments on things like story flow, chapter order, plot points, etc. Then, I review her comments and go back through the manuscript to make changes—most of which I agree with. In addition to her comments on flow and structure, she also has a keen eye for factual errors (such as someone having blue eyes on page 16 and brown on page 200—not that I would ever make such a grievous error.)
Once I have gone through and fixed all the large errors, I send it back to my editor to copy edit. This is where she goes through the book with a fine-toothed comb to check for grammar, spelling, and making sure all the punctuation and spelling follow the same style guide throughout the book.
After I check through the copy edits, it goes out to my two proofreaders. I have always been a strong believer the more eyes looking for errors, the better. My editor already catches most of the errors, but I am always on the lookout for misplaced punctuation, an extra space, or missing letter.
This final process takes roughly two weeks, depending on the proofreader. And then the celebration can begin.