Anne blogged about starting a book a few weeks ago, while I was in the process of finishing one. So in the interest of process analysis…
I never finish a book. Really. I can’t read the final printed product because I would still want to change things, and it would frustrate me no end that I couldn’t. I apparently have a control freak hiding in my brainpan somewhere. Don’t know where the gremlin is the rest of the time because control is generally not an issue for The Queen of Absentminded, but when it comes to my books… I’m OC. (Right now, I'm making feverish changes to the final proofs of July's book)
I rewrite a manuscript the entire time I’m working on the first draft, so I can’t even say when the
editorial process begins. But the torture of finishing a book—to turn it into an editor—comes after I write the last word on the last page. Sort of. At least at that point I know how the book ends so I can go back and link together all the bits and pieces that drifted from my fingers as I wrote. At that point my Muse is whimpering under the bed so I turn on the editor and play with words, run spellchecks, hunt down my repetitive phrase syndrome, etc, until my Muse has slept and recovered.
I’ve already printed pages half a dozen times during the writing process, so at this stage, I create a mock galley from the manuscript—making it look like a finished book. And then I try reading it as if I’m a new reader just opening the pages of a book I hope will transport me into another world. I scribble and redline all over these pages and go back to the computer with a better idea of where I’ve left plot holes and how I need to build up character traits. Once I whack out all the unnecessary bits and enter all the revisions, the poor book has to sit and settle awhile. I’ve never understood how other writers can whip the last smoking page off the printer and shoot the whole thing off to New York. I wish I could.
Of course, even after I’ve gone through my brilliant masterpiece for the millionth time and declared it
finished, my editor will return with pages of revisions notes and I’ll rip half the scenes apart and rebuild and then go through the above process again. And again. Makes one wonder how I ever wrote those first books on a typewriter!
How do the other writers among us polish a book for editorial consumption? Any handy tips for prying me out of my rut before I burn out all my brain cells?
But while my current WIP is simmering, waiting for the Muse to recover, I’m playing with electronic publishing. Random House has compiled most of my contemporaries as e-books that may sell 25 books a year, so I’m not expecting much of this new venture. I just have this image of libraries of the future existing on handheld gizmos we carry around with us, and I want to be ready for that day.
So MERELY MAGIC is now up at BelgraveHouse.com and RegencyReads.com and will eventually migrate to Fictionwise and maybe even Amazon, although I have issues with their idea of a fair share of proceeds. Ultimately, the rest of the Magic series will appear in the same places. Since I don’t even own an e-reader, I can’t tell you about the reading experience, but learning the publishing ending of it has been enlightening!
How many of you have e-readers? What’s your experience been like? And I know some of you will have to have the printed book pried out of your cold, dead hands, but I’ve run out of walls for my books. How do you deal with the inventory problem?