Revising SWEET SALT AIR
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!
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Getting there with the book, the outdoors photo was my favorite, good stuff!
Hi Barbara – When you are editing a book before you turn it in, do you mark up the hard copy similar to the photo above or employ the track changes on your computer? I am just curious..
I don’t use track changes. I find it THE hardest tool, particularly when it comes to editing the changes. I either red-pencil it or do it on the computer and then submit a fresh (emailed) copy to my editor.
I pre-ordered it today from Amazon. Can’t wait!
Thanks for the advice Barbara and enjoy cleaning your office.. I will get ordering, looking forward to the read.
I hope I have your confidence in the future. I turned my manuscript in with great trepidation (and am still waiting for the redlines at this point). When I go to my weekly critique group gathering, I’m always surprised, whether they gush with praise or gently remind me what I should do to improve my writing. I love them for all their advice. Maybe I’ll feel more confident when I have a half-million words under my belt. 🙂
Thank you for sharing your experience.
l am a writer also, looking for an agent is near impossible (To find one) so I have just about given up. Any suggestions? BTW Sandra.Brown is one of my favorites also, along with Kristen Hannah and a couple others. I love your books of couse.
Another question: what is your opinion of self publishing? Thanks.
Hey, Mona, yes, finding an agent is a problem. That said, self-publishing is definitely an option. I don’t know details of that either, but I read of many writers for whom it works. Publishing is changing every day! A mind open to all possibilities is the way to go here. I wish you the best.