Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Pub Talk: The order of edits

Hi, guys! How the heck are you? Before I get into my second ever Pub Talk, a couple of announcements. I got my release date! It's September 24, 2013. :) :) :) Things could still change because, well, they tend to, but for now it's official!

And I got my official author picture! (Check out the sidebar.) Huge thanks to the uberly-talented Erin of Erin Summerill Photography.

Now let's talk the kinds of edits you get after getting a book deal. There's so many different kinds, they can get a little fuzzy. I'm going to say when I got each of mine, too, just in case you're curious. Of course, every single publisher is different and every book is different. Even other debut authors with Random House with fall 2013 release dates have slightly different schedules than I do. But I think it's good to hear numbers from different authors, just so you can see the range. Plus: interesting. (Or is that just me?)

Content edits
What are they usually called?
First round edits, second round edits, etc. Sometimes Editorial Letter. (As in "Oh, my gosh!" *waves letter* "I just got my first editorial letter!" Or as in, "Yay." *gnashes teeth, pulls out hair puts on a smile* "Fourth round edits. Party.")

These come from your editor.

# of rounds:
I've heard as few as one and as many as five. I had four.

What are they like:
It kind of depends on your editor. Most write a letter and talk about the things that could be made stronger in your manuscript. (I've heard of one who doesn't use letters at all, but writes every suggestion on the manuscript itself.) They aren't "fix this problem this way" kind of suggestions. They're more like "Here's a problem. How would you like to fix it?" Which is nice, because then you can figure out best how to address the issue, so it can still be done in the way you want. But.... then YOU have to figure out how to best address the issue. (This is where the hair pulling, teeth gnashing comes in.) The awesome thing about it, though, is that you can run ideas past your editor. And editors are crazy smart.

When did I get mine:
1st round: February 2012. 2nd round: May 2012. 3rd round: June 2012 4th round: June 2012. Mine took a total of 4 1/2 months to complete.

Line edits
What are they usually called?
Um... Line edits. Or sometimes they're just included in the "edits" umbrella. Or sometimes they aren't called anything at all.

These come from your editor.

# of rounds:
Pshaw. Idk. I had four. Each editor is different. A lot only do one.

What are they like:
This depends on your editor, too. Mine likes to print out the manuscript, then mark on it. I got a marked up manuscript with each editorial letter. Some like to do it with comments in a document in Word. Some don't do any line edits until after all the content edits are done. Some may not do it at all. If there are huge changes (like huge chunks being rewritten or changed drastically) in first round edits, it's unlikely line edits will come with it, because it'd kind of be pointless. They're fairly easy... Or at least that's what you go along thinking as you're cruising through your manuscript at a fast rate, then you hit something that's SO not easy. It'll be things like awkward wording, word reps, things that are unclear, or questions that affect other parts of the ms (the screeching stop kinds of things ;)).

When did I get mine:
1st round: February 2012. 2nd round: May 2012. 3rd round: June 2012 4th round: June 2012. I did mine in the same 4 1/2 months as content edits.

Copy Edits
What are they usually called?
Copy Edits, plain and simple.

These come from your COPY editor. Not the editor you've been working with. Sometimes the copy editor works for your publishing company, and sometimes they're a freelance copy editor.

# of rounds:
As many as it takes. Basically they come to you, you make changes, they go back to the copy editor. There will sometimes be further questions on the things you fixed, or grammatical fixes that need to be made on things you changed. It goes back and forth until everything's all sparkly.

What are they like:
In general? I don't know. I've only ever seen my own. (Which I started on yesterday! Yay!) I'm going to assume that it's a fairly consistent thing, though. I got my manuscript as a Word document, with Track Changes turned on. The CE (copy editor) checks for grammar, punctuation, things that don't match the house style, awkward wording, and CONSISTENCY. This one is huge. They check to make sure that if you say it's May 15th, or, say a Tuesday on one day, that your timeline actually matches that. Or that your description of this character that was on the page for two seconds matches what you said about them 57 pages earlier. Things like that.

So, basically, there's changes (which you can STET, which means to leave it the way you had it) grammar-wise, and there's queries. (Which is funny, because query really means something completely different to us than it does to a CE!) You answer the queries, and make the appropriate changes if needed, until it comes back with no more queries.

The weird/scary/exciting part:
After that first round of copy edits, your ARCs are printed, based on the changes that were made in that round. Sometimes, with all the changing / changing back that goes on between you and the copy editor, mistakes can creep in. Yes, it's terrifying to know that it's a little out of your control that errors can sneak their way into your ARCs! Luckily, the CE is totally on your side, so hopefully there aren't many.

When did I get mine:
1st round: September 2012. Hopefully mine will take three days, because that's how long I have. Eek!

First Pass Pages
What are they usually called?
Pass Pages, or sometimes Galleys

I have no idea. And now I feel bad that I have no idea.

# of rounds:
Usually one. But if there are many changes, there may also be Second Pass Pages.

What are they like:
The manuscript comes to you, printed out, looking just like it will look in book form. It will have whatever the title page is going to look like (probably in the same font as your cover), the dedication, acknowledgements, etc. will all be there, the fonts and typesetting is all done, page numbers are there, and chapter headings will look like they're going to look. This is your LAST CHANCE to make changes. But.... they can't be too big of changes. Preferably not anything that's going to change what page the text is on. Usually, it'll just be a last chance to make sure that there are no typos or wording changes that need to be made before it goes to print.

When did I get mine:
I haven't yet.

And then, you celebrate, because all edits are done! Well, that is, until you dive into the next book. ;)

P.S. It's Jessie Humphries at the B-Word's birthday! If you get a chance, head over and wish her a great one.


Delia Moran said...

Septmeber 24th, eh? That'll make a nice birthday present to myself. :) Congratulations (tentatively). Nice breakdown on the edits.

JeffO said...

Congratulations, Peggy. And great post, it's really interesting to see inside the process. It's still amazing to me how LONG this whole process is.

Anonymous said...

Five total edits. Yes? Is that right? I'm going to lay down now.

Clarissa Draper said...

I've had to do so many edits too. How exhausting! I couldn't get your picture to show but can't wait to see it.

Shell Flower said...

Congrats on your publication date. Just a little over a year away. That seems quick in a slow way. Thanks for sharing your journey with us, and no wonder you were so quiet on your blog earlier this Summer. Wow. June must have been intense for you!

Angela Cothran said...

I'm with you Peggy. I find this absolutely fascinating!!! It does sound pretty intense, but exciting :) And September 24th!!! I'm marking my calender.

Amanda Olivieri said...

Gorgeous author photo!! And congrats on your pub date! Squeeee!

Thanks for sharing about your edits! It *is* totally interesting to see how the process works. I love posts like these :D

Z said...

September 24th! I can't wait! Please offer a chance to read the ARC!!! Please oh please oh please!

PS, LOVE the author shot - you look great :)

And thanks for the post. It's a good reminder to get through the ms as quickly as possible so we can move on to the sticky parts - like 4 1/2 months of editing! (do you like how I nicely skipped over querying and finding an agent and selling the book?)

David P. King said...

This is amazing. So glad I'm stalking your blog. Invaluable information you're staring with all of us. And smashing photo, btw! :)

Mara Rae said...

I LOVE your photo, first off. And second, thanks for sharing all that nifty editing info! If I ever get published (big IF, obvs), I'll be really interested to see how badly I screw up, since in a past life I was a professional copy editor. :P

Elizabeth Seckman said...

What, they don't expect it to be perfect the first time?
Good luck with it all Peggy!

Diana said...

Yikes! I thought all the hard work was done once you typed "the end"! Great pic. :)

Ruth Josse said...

Okay, I know how busy you've been, but I didn't know HOW busy you've been. Wow, Peggy. Thanks for the rundown, very cool! And you totally got this weeks deadline. :)

Jessie Humphries said...

Peggy, you are so awesome on so many levels! First, your picture is gorgeous! I can practically smell your fresh hair and recently fallen rain in the background. And your lady mommas aren't so bad either :)
Second, you know everything about everything!
Third, you shouted me out on my B-day! I love your friggin guts!

Anonymous said...

CONGRATS, Peggy! Nice author photo.

Carrie Butler said...

It's great to have a friend wandering down the same edit path, Pegasus! Thanks for sharing. :)

Carrie Butler said...

P.S. I am so excited about your release date. Count me in for a tour stop, if you do one!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! So much editing, it's a surprise writer's heads don't explode. I never knew the process was that long. Thanks for sharing, and good luck! :)

Taffy said...

Thanks, Peggy! I had no idea what everything was. I'm going to tweet this!

Gabriel C. Taylor said...

Hey, I'm new to your blog but thought I'd say thanks for this. I've always wondered about the editorial process, and hope to someday find myself in your shoes, and this has been very enlightening.
I look forward to reading more of your blog (and your book next year).

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

Thank you for this very informative post, Peggy, and I agree - I find the number interesting! Love your photo! Can't wait for September 24, 2013 :)

Jenny S. Morris said...

Reading this schedule makes me a tiny bit antsy. Only because if (when) Kelley and I get our book picked up we will have to do all this together. With the same deadlines. So the work might be split in 2, which could make it easier. But we have to coordinate with each other, which could be tricky. ;0) Thanks for all the great info!!

Kelley Lynn said...

This is pretty much how my edits went/are going. I do love how they point out things that should be strengthened, but don't tell you how to do it. I think that's super important.

Cindy Dwyer said...

I agree with you - this is interesting stuff. At each stage in the process, it's helpful for aspiring authors to be learning about the next few stages BEFORE we get there so we are better prepared.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience and congrats on a release date!