When I wrote Angel in Training, I had no idea what I was going to do with it. By that, I wasn't sure if I wanted to self-publish or go the traditional route.
In the end, I decided to do it myself. I won't lie, it's because I'm a control freak and I wanted to see the process through from start to end. I also wanted to have the final say on the cover. I adore Amalia's work and I couldn't image them with anything else.
While I don't regret this decision for one moment, it has been hard work.
Firstly, I don't write full time. I have a very demanding full time job (which I enjoy) and I also DJ (which I enjoy). I don't consider writing to be a hobby, but it's not the job which puts the food on the table. That being said, I take it just as seriously as if it were the main job.
When it comes to the book I put out, I want it to be the best quality it can possibly be. I have a very thorough editing process, to the point I have been told it's excessive. I don't care.
So this is what works for me.
1) I finish writing the book. I ignore it for a couple of week. In this time I read the previous books again and I work on the next books. Once at least two weeks have passed and the previous books re-read, I send the book to my kindle to read through. At this point I'm really only looking at story flow and plot continuity. If anything doesn't match or add up, I make a note of it but only make the changes after I've finished reading.
2) Once I'm happy with the flow, I go through it on my computer, but this time I change the font. I write in Times New Roman and this edit happens in Comic Sans. I find it helps me spot the mistakes more easily.
3) Next up I print and edit, going through each line with a ruler.
4) By this point, it's ready for the beta readers. I have a few because I think multiple opinions are important. I have beta readers who will tell me what works and what doesn't. I'm exceptionally lucky to have them! I don't ask them to do any edits, but either make comments or feed back their opinions.
5) Hopefully they like it and there's not too many questions or things that don't make sense. If anything needs addressing, I address it. I also give the story another read through on the screen.
6) Now it goes onto my first editor. She picks up mistakes, but she also makes sure it makes sense. The story is set in America and written in American English so I need to make sure that translates okay (yes, this can actually be a problem!)
7) After this comes back, I go through the edits and accept/reject/rephrase where needed. Then it goes on to the next editor. He looks at my spelling and grammar. This time, we go through it together (he's local!) over a couple of evenings - I enjoy this part!
8) Because I'm paranoid, it goes out to two people at the same time for a proof read. When they both come back, I go through them side by side and combine anything they've done into one document.
9) Believe it or not, we're not finished yet. It gets formatted into the correct layout for the book and I get my first proof copy back from the printers. This is my favourite part - holding a copy of the book in my hands. I get to go home and curl up with the cats and read them the story... okay, I'm not actually reading them the story. They tend to fall asleep very quickly. But I do read it aloud. Here, I'm not finding much wrong in the way of spelling mistakes, but I find that when reading aloud some sentences don't flow as well as they should. I commit book sins and scrawl all over it with my red pen. Finished, I go through the book and make the changes to the word document. Depending on how many changes there were, there might be a second proof copy and it's read aloud once more.
I'd say the whole process takes three months and it's fair to say that I probably have more people looking at the manuscript than anything that's traditionally published. The reason for this is two-fold. Firstly, I care about my story and I care about the reader - I'd be doing an injustice to both if I just threw it out there. Secondly, it's because anyone can publish anything these days, and I know that people have been burned when it comes to buying self-published work. Because of this self-published authors are held to a higher standard than traditionally published authors - even when I find the best-sellers with errors in them. It's not fair, and it's not the way it should be, but if someone wants to complain about the errors in my books, I want to be able to tell them I do everything I can to get a good quality novel out there.
The other thing, is that when I re-read the stories, if after all that I still find something, I will update the existing books. I know that doesn't help with the already published paperbacks, and although it's possible, most people won't update their e-books, but I'm not going to let a typo sit for the next reader if I can help it.
What's your process?
The thoughts and musings of an author who can't get her brain to shut off.
I don't like rating books. I think a 'good book', much like 'good music', is subjective.
Buy the Louisiangel Series