Saturday, August 11, 2012

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the post-production Re-Edit

There is no substitute for hard work.” -Thomas Edison


Anyone who has talked to me about my first novel, SOUL BORN, knows I was not happy with the edit job.

Without giving all the gruesome details, the edit for Soul Born was late because the editor went "missing". So as the deadline for printing approached, a wave of panic spread from publisher to author and back. Justing thinking back to that mess stresses me out. It was a disaster. Nothing went as planned.

For the past two plus years I have felt, IMO, the edit was rushed and done by someone whose skill level was subpar for the publishing industry; albeit small press. (Sorry if you are reading this.) (Please understand, I have my flaws too.)

Let's be honest. Soul Born was my first book and written many years ago... and I will be the first to admit that the book was full of mistakes. BUT what are mistakes if you can't learn from them, right??? And I learned a lot from writing and having Soul Born published by small press.

In fact, I learn a ton of things from story to story and book to book.

One thing I have learned is to take control of my destiny instead of falling into black holes. So, when BLOOD DIVIDED was finished, I found my own editor to fix it up, and pitched her to the publisher. No, I was not using the Soul Born editor again. OH HELL NO.

So what happened? Well, Blood Divided's edit job was completed promptly and it was clear, concise and smart. I was so happy with the job done on Blood Divided, that I decided I should ask my new editor to re-read and re-edit Soul Born... at my cost. That was a few months ago. Since, and over the past two months, I have been going through the work slowly. I sit with it once or twice a week and make the corrections for maybe twenty pages tops. Just going slow. No rush...

I have to believe the publisher will re-release the new fixed up Soul Born as a 2nd printing (at least in e-book format) after FLESH ENDED is released in 2013... if not... well... I'll think of something. ;)

I'm glad I am doing this. I'm glad I am doing this. I tell myself.

Of course, having it re-edited meant having to face the facts. I always figured Soul Born had a few dozen mistakes, but no... no, no, no... I was wrong. There is several hundred mistakes that made it past the final editing to print. The unfortunate result of working with a small press publisher who does not proofread. (I found that out a few months ago, after Blood Divided was released) (Crazy! I know, right?)

I have had a lot of big time pros tell me it is okay if a book is released with a few mistakes. It happens, they say. Don't worry so much about it, let it go, they tell me. I try, but it's hard. I am a bit of a perfectionist and while many of those flubs in Soul Born are punctuation, which the average reader may not see, there are enough errors of the spelling and dropped word nature that I have, at times, become enraged. I'm an artist and sometimes artists gets so close to their work that they don't see the big glaring mistake on the page.

Breathe deep. Remind yourself of all the great reviews Soul Born has received. The awards it has won.

Looking at the old edits, I realized a lot of mistakes were made. The publisher's editor missed things. I missed things. Most importantly, I should have questioned the changes I was making, double checked them, and not so blindly followed. I was a rookie. I was a noob. I did not know better.

Granted, just about everything that could go wrong at one point has gone wrong with Soul Born, but I have fought to overcome it all and well... paid my dues.

I am trying my hardest to mark this down as another hard lesson learned.That was 2009. It's 2012 now. I have written four books since Soul Born and with each one I have grown as an author.

Is it healthy to go back to my first book, as I write my sixth? I'm not sure, but I want to polish it up and make it what it was always intended to be: a fun, epic fantasy novel with compelling characters that should delight lovers of the genre. I want the best for myself and the fans of my books.

...or maybe I'm just being too hard on myself.


Kevin James Breaux
www.kevinbreaux.com

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