A Year in the Life: Week 8

Catie MurphyCatie Murphy
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Writing: Revisions, primarily, these past two weeks. This month is largely about revisions: I had NO DOMINION to get out to my Kickstarter patrons, am working on MOUNTAIN ECHOES (book 8 of the Walker Papers) so it doesn’t embarrass me when I send it to my editor, and once that’s done, there’s “Year of Miracles”, the Old Races novella I’m prepping for e-release.

I would like to now pause and make some comments about revising.

All three of these books have been (or will be) professionally edited, even though two of them are e-releases. What, you say, really? You’re paying somebody to edit your books? But Catie, you’ve written something like 25 books! 18 of them have been published! *Seriously*, you’re still going to editors for revision suggestions?

Yes. Yes, I am, and I assure you that any time I do a novella-or-better length e-release I will be doing the same thing. And I don’t like revising.

But I do understand the incredible value a fresh pair of eyes and a clear mind can offer a book. I’m a good writer. I write pretty clean first drafts. But editors invariably see things I miss, ask questions I should have asked, and offer suggestions I never would have thought of. Ideally, of course, if I’ve got something worth publishing, a traditional publisher will pick it up.

In the case of “Year of Miracles”, though, it’s a novella in my (arguably) less popular urban fantasy world, and my publishers opted not to pick it up. So I’m looking for different way to get it out to readers, and for me, part of that is offering the best product I can. And I would never kid myself that my first draft is the best I can do. I need–and nearly everyone else needs–someone who is more distant from the story, who can see how to take it apart and put it together more cleanly.

With NO DOMINION, there are some things I chose not to follow up on in my editor’s notes, because I felt doing so *properly* would add several thousand words to the book, and I wasn’t mentally prepared to do that, particularly after the book ballooned from a 30K novella to a 60K novel. o.O That doesn’t mean she’s wrong. In fact, she’s still almost certainly right, and if it ends up that I get NO DOMINION traditionally published somewhere along the way, I’ll very likely follow through on the suggestions I passed over this time.

This is the reality of the job: writing the first draft is not the end of the creative process. It *shouldn’t* be the end of the creative process, and I believe strongly that everyone, no matter what publishing route they’re taking, should look carefully at an editor’s notes, comments and suggestions before releasing their projects into the wild.

Work That Isn’t Writing: I suppose this depends on how you count revising, really. :) Ah, no, really: getting my act together to sign some contracts, getting a very large stack of signed pages into the mail, continuing involvement with Dinocalypse, the Kickstarter I’ll be writing a pulp fiction novel for later this year, and…that’s mostly it, I think.

Big not-writing work was getting NO DOMINION out to the Kickstarter subscribers, in fact. 520 copies of the book went out, and most of them seem to have made it to their intended recipients. That’s been pretty exciting, by far my most significant e-pub/crowdfunding projecct, so yeah, wow. I’m delighted to have gotten that out there!

Self-publishing efforts: Faith’s and my sales for “Easy Pickings” went very well through March, on the order of about 1400 books sold. April has seen a drastic drop-off, but we got 3 strong months out of the book, and I’m very pleased with that.

I have gotten the rough draft cover for one of the Old Races projects, and it’s going to be BEAUTIFUL. Next time I’ll be able to show it off to you!

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5 comments to A Year in the Life: Week 8

  • Love the aside about working with an editor, Catie. So, so true. I still get so much out of every editorial letter I receive, and I’ve been doing this for a pretty long time. Fresh eyes make such a difference. Professionally trained fresh eyes even more so.

  • mudepoz

    *Reads entry* Uh huh. Uh huh. WHOOOOT! OLD RACES projects! ;) (Yeah, so I’m a fan, shoot me)

  • Catie, you are BUSY! And with a baby, too!

  • Wow. I’m amazed by how much you are juggling and wish I was able to do the same. I hear you loud and clear regarding editors and I’m taking notes. Thanks!

  • Owllady

    Your post is a great endorsement for editing. In fact, I’d like to put your post on billboards across the country. Bad editing (or no editing) is the biggest reason why indie-published books are still looked down on by a lot of people, and it’s such a shame. A reputation like that for a reason like that is avoidable. I said it in a post on the online critique site I belong to and I’ll always believe it: Editing Matters.