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Editing is one of those processes that can go on forever, and I must admit to being a little addicted to it lately!
I have been working through a number of edits from my agent on Pentecost, my first novel in the ARKANE series.
Yes, this book is out and published (and available on all ebook stores!) but it is also being pitched to New York publishers by my literary agent in Sept/Oct. It's a book I know well and have read several times so editing it again is difficult.
It has already had a number of edits:
* Pre-publication – multiple drafts, self-editing, editorial review, and then a full line edit and then a proof-read, plus beta readers. More articles here about all that editing.
* Post-publication – fixing up of some minor errors/typos found by the first readers
So I am absolutely happy with the book as it stands now.
BUT when I re-read it again, as I work on the 3rd novel in the series, there are things that I want to improve.
Danger zone: every time you read a book you will find things you want to change!
There were some changes I wanted to make, plus some edits from Rachel, my agent so I have spent a few weeks going back through the book and tweaking. Here's my process:
(1) I printed it out on paper and went through it with a pen, writing on the pages and then updating the master file in Scrivener.
(2) I went through it again directly on Scrivener with the changes that Rachel, my agent wanted.
(3) Then I was sick of the book but I wanted to re-read it once more to make sure I was entirely happy. So this time, I exported it to Kindle format and read it on the Kindle device itself, adding annotations with the Kindle commenting functionality (see above left picture). It was amazing to see what popped off the page when reading in this different format. For example, repeated words were more easily spotted. Check the above example, where the word ‘tried' appears twice near the number 35. In the edit, I changed one of these words to attempted. I have also changed some of the sentence structures to vary the rhythm.
(4) Then finally I went through making those changes in the Scrivener master file and exported it for submission.
Of course, if the book/series is bought by a publisher, I will have more edits based on what they want, so it is truly an ongoing process.
What do you think about editing books that are already published?
How do you edit your books, especially when you know them inside out and need new eyes? Please do leave a comment below as this is such an important topic for authors.