Edit, Proof, Rewrite, and Start Again

Look at that title and you’ll know what I have been doing lately. I have a romance novel, A Spirit in the Heart, that is available as an e-book on Amazon.com. The book is doing well, so I decided to offer a paperback version, because not everyone likes e-books.

The initial process for this was relatively easy. I chose the photo for the cover, did some simple design tasks, uploaded the text, and requested a couple of review copies that came to me within a few days. If you are producing a standard book, paperback or hard cover, please get review copies because that is where you see what went wrong. Believe me, plenty goes wrong.

Starting with the covers: there seemed to be too many text colors, and some of those colors were difficult to read against the photo I had chosen. I had to completely remake the cover, and it does look better.

Then I decided that I should probably read the book again. I didn’t really want to do this. I mean, I have gone over this manuscript so many times on my computer that I couldn’t imagine why I should read it again. But I did. Boy, oh boy, I hate to admit it, but I am still in the process and certain pages are a mess of mark outs, corrections, and additions. This is not an enjoyable part of the job.

How did I miss all these things before? One reason I can think of is that I read differently from a written page as opposed to one on a computer screen. I don’t know why; I can’t explain it; and I know others who would agree with me on this point. I just know that I catch my errors quicker on a hard copy.

When I finally finish proofing this book, I will upload the manuscript again, not only for the paperback, but also the e-book format, because those errors are in there too. How embarrassing. I hope the readers will forgive me.

This is one more item I can list under “valuable lessons learned.” No piece of writing is perfect. Never, no matter how many times you edit, proof and rewrite. That applies to books, scripts, poems, essays, and blogs. And even if you correct all the grammatical and spelling errors and rework some of the sentences, there will come a time when you look at it, smack yourself in the forehead and say, “Why did I do that?”

We want our work to be perfect, but mistakes will happen. We just have to do our best to weed them out to the best of our ability before presenting our art to others.

(Gosh, I wish I didn’t have to read this again.)

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