Here’s how it works. The author writes her book and sends it to her editor, who reads it, thinks about it, reacts to it, hopefully loves it – but also comes up with a few recommendations to make it even stronger.
Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Well, it isn’t always. Authors have egos. We have pride and fears. Let me ask you – do you rewrite email that you send or documents you write for work? If you’re in school, do you rewrite papers? Do you feel offended when someone suggests editing it?
When I submit a completed manuscript, I think it’s perfect. As far as I’m concerned, it can go into print exactly as it is. To that end, my dream always is for my editor to say that she loved loved loved the book as written, can’t think of a single thing she’d change, and, boom, it’s done.
That wasn’t how it happened with Sweet Salt Air. My editor felt that one of my two leading characters wasn’t likable enough. Me, I felt that the other of the two (my favorite from the start, the one with the fabulously hot love story) was strong enough to carry your hearts until the second character caught up, which she does mid-way through the book. But an editor’s worry is a worry for me.
For one thing, I trust her judgment.
For another, though I wanted this particular character to be weaker at the start so that she had plenty of room to grow, I understood what my editor said.
For a third, and most important, I need my editor to adore the book. She’s the one who will sell it to the rest of the publishing house, and if all those folks in sales and marketing and publicity aren’t excited, my book won’t do as well.
So I made the revisions. I’ve made revisions on past manuscripts – many times – but these ones were harder than I expected. When you modify the personality of a character, it permeates the entire book. Very few of the pages in this 430-page manuscript escaped unscathed.
Bottom line? The manuscript is stronger. Nicole is more likable her relationship with her husband more loving, their emotional climax far more dramatic. Most important, my editor loves it, the publisher loves it, the head marketing person loves it, and the positive feedback continues to come.
What’s next? I’ll see the manuscript again in a month, when the copyeditor sends queries. In the meanwhile, the manuscript will continue to make its way through the publishing house, so that the different departments can brainstorm how to best promote it. Also, now that the art department has a finished manuscript, we should be getting a glimpse of a cover. I’ll show you that as soon as I have it.
And yes, they will be using Awesome Outdoors, the author photo you all chose!
What will I do, now that my active work on Sweet Salt Air is done? Clean my office! It’s a mess.
Oh, and we do have an on-sale date. It’s June 18, 2013!