One More Edit
“I think I missed something.”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen this in an email from an author going through the editing process prior to publication. They’ve suddenly realized that their “baby” is about to go out into the cold, cruel world, and they’re being very protective.
Editing prior to publication is something every author goes through, even people like Steven King, Karin Slaughter, or J.K. Rowling. We all have to do this. Our editor can be our best friend or our worst enemy. I prefer to think of mine as my best friend. They have a job to do, and I’m thankful they’re doing it.
By the time you receive the first round of edits, your editor will have gone through your book. They will have absorbed the essence of it. They will have made notes on things they noticed that need to be changed. Most editors are very professional and thorough.
Round 1 will probably be the worst. That first step will have you wondering why you were ever offered you a contract. Believe me, if you were offered a contract, the editor-in-chief found something in your book they found engaging. Your editor is just making engaging into wonderful, fabulous, sure to garner many reviews publishable.
Step 2 is what the editor found that they missed the first time around. It can be just as hard to get through as the first step, but you can do this. Didn’t you labor for months and years to write your book to begin with? Suck it up and plod through this round. If you happen to find something that doesn’t sit right, discuss it with your editor. Don’t go running off to the editor-in-chief with complaint. Don’t ever resort to social media as a means of communicating your dissatisfaction. Never scream that the editor is ruining your work. Take a deep breath, walk away for a few hours, and then come back with a fresh perspective and look at what you saw from a different angle.
Round 3 is usually the last round. This is where the editor has found that missing punctuation missed in the first two rounds. Maybe a spot or two where the sentences are awkward. Or perhaps a missing point that’s important to the plot.
If there is a round 4, it will be much like round 3. As an editor-in-chief, I’ve had to endure authors who feel their work is stellar without editing. As an author, I’ve learned to accept that editing is absolutely necessary in order to have the best book possible.
Which brings us to the point where you suddenly get cold feet once you realize that your book is about to go into the last couple of steps prior to publication—the panicked feeling that you need another round of editing.
No you don’t need more editing. The cure for this panic attack is to get to work on your next book. Forget all about your “baby” while you give birth to a second novel. Think about promotion. Go out to a ball game or a meal with your significant other. Don’t pummel the editor-in-chief with email after email demanding another round of editing.