Mid-October, last year, I “finished” my novel. I had final edited it—the entire book—and believed the work was in its final form. So, at that time, I began looking for a literary agent. Of course, before that, I had done some research into Literary Agencies already, but in October I began looking for a representative in earnest. I did not look far before I realized that finding an agent for my book was going to take months, if not years. This was true for a number of reasons but primarily 1) I’m a new writer on the scene, 2) at the time, I had no social media presence, and 3) my book is larger than publishers like to deal with. At that point, I let the manuscript just “rest” on a shelf and turned my attention to other domestic activities. This was a good thing to do.
Then, a few weeks ago, April, a relative of mine, showed an interest in reading my novel. But all I had to offer her was my heavy manuscript and, besides, she was used to reading books in ebook form. The paper manuscript just would not work in this case. But having April, a member of a book club who reads a good number of books each year, read my work would certainly be an advantage to me and the work. So this motivated me to look into creating some sort of ebook I could offer her.
As I began working on formatting my novel into ebook form, I realized that this was the ideal first step for publishing my work. I would maintain complete artistic control, I could afford publishing the work, and I would retain full copyright authority of the book as well. All three of these are important to me. So what began as a way to give April an ebook version of my novel has turned into a publishing strategy and I feel very good about it.
But each time I read chapters of my novel in ebook form, I saw the writing in a new light and I spotted mistakes I didn’t realize were there. For this reason, copy editing has taken multiple chapter readings and careful combing and re-combing of paragraphs to make sure the prose reads just the way I want it to. And this process is taking me longer than I expected but I know it will be well worth the extra time in the end. And yes, copy editing is a very different skill and process than creating an interesting story. Both are necessary, of course, but I must confess I prefer the creativity part much more.
See you around the block.