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Whibs123
09-09-2016, 01:57 AM
Hey guys, I was just wondering if anyone would mind sharing what their editorial process is like. how many rounds of edits do you do? How many beta readers? how many times do you use beta readers? eg, do you use them again after getting feedback and making changes you agree with? Do you use the same ones? What about professional edits? Or, are you a lone wolf and no one sees it before it's live on Amazon?

My process is lengthy. At least two rounds of edits I do before I send to beta readers, then I collect comments suggestions and make decisions about them. I don't send it back out for another beta, though I wonder if I should sometimes, but it's tough to find a couple good betas and to ask too much seems like a mistake :) I then send to a editor and that process is about 2-3 rounds, then to a copy editor. Then I print the ms. out and do a last read on my own looking for anything I might have missed.

Needless to say, I need to sell a few books to break even on that process haha.

I'm curious about others though, so really, thank you for sharing.

portugueseninja
09-09-2016, 05:00 AM
I am just releasing my first book so I only have experience of this one, but I did quite a few rounds of edits. For my first draft I just let loose and wrote everything as I thought of it, with very little regard for "good" writing, then when I read it back I did big edits for content, making notes on what worked and what didn't work, so when I went back for my second draft the story made a lot more sense, I filled in all the gaps.

That second draft is actually what I gave to my first couple of readers, and I asked for their comments on story, not grammar or anything like that. Their notes were really helpful, so I made some more big edits to the plot.

Then I started fine-tuning it further, and starting editing for grammar, speech, rephrasing things make the copy stronger and cleaner. Gave this to my next readers, asking for more specific comments, and they were able to find a couple of errors.

At this point I think is where I put the whole thing on my Kindle and tried to see how it flowed, which made me realise I had a lot of typos that I'd missed. So I actually read on the Kindle while at my laptop, so I could fix things as I went along.

After that, I was really fine-combing, going through line by line, reading it carefully word by word (because I realised how easy it is to accidentally write the same word twice and for nobody to notice because the eye just brushes right over it!). I also used Grammarly to help with these fine edits, which was really helpful.

I did another read-through and didn't find any errors myself, so I gave it to the last reader who noticed just a few typos (little things like putting a comma instead of a full stop, or forgetting to close speech marks) and then read through one final time for myself, and decided it was done.

It got REALLY tedious, but I'm glad I did it because it was a good learning experience. But yeah... there were plenty of times when I was so sick of my own writing!

raelwv
09-09-2016, 06:15 AM
Generally, I do the first draft, then go back and write a second draft using the first draft as a guide (first draft = figure out what happens, second draft = make sure it all makes sense). Then I do a couple of red-pen revisions before it goes to beta readers. Next I incorporate the beta reader feedback, then do another red-pen edit. Unless there are problems, that's it before I farm out the copy editing.

So five or six rounds, depending.

Old Hack
09-09-2016, 09:56 AM
My process is lengthy. At least two rounds of edits I do before I send to beta readers, then I collect comments suggestions and make decisions about them. I don't send it back out for another beta, though I wonder if I should sometimes, but it's tough to find a couple good betas and to ask too much seems like a mistake :) I then send to a editor and that process is about 2-3 rounds, then to a copy editor. Then I print the ms. out and do a last read on my own looking for anything I might have missed.

That doesn't seem lengthy to me. It seems reasonable, and perhaps on the short side. Only two rounds of revision? I know writers who do a lot more than that!

I don't think this is an issue specific to self publishing, so I'm going to move the thread from our Self Publishing room to our Round Table room, where it might be a better fit: but if the room mods there feel it's more suited to a different place it might move again.

TellMeAStory
09-09-2016, 06:06 PM
I would find it self-defeating to count.

I edit until it's right, using as much non-me input as I can get, and plenty of me as I learn more about writing.

Whibs123
09-09-2016, 06:34 PM
That doesn't seem lengthy to me. It seems reasonable, and perhaps on the short side. Only two rounds of revision? I know writers who do a lot more than that!

2-3 rounds of revisions with the editor. That doesn't include the revisions I do before and after beta reders. I do know the trade side is (or can be) far more exhastive. I went through around 10 rounds of edits with a manuscript I sold a few years back. And that doesn't count the copyedits that happened after we were done. That level of editing is tough to finance for the average sp author, which is why I started the thread there.

Old Hack
09-09-2016, 08:06 PM
I would find it self-defeating to count.

I edit until it's right, using as much non-me input as I can get, and plenty of me as I learn more about writing.

That sounds like my process, too.


2-3 rounds of revisions with the editor. That doesn't include the revisions I do before and after beta reders. I do know the trade side is (or can be) far more exhastive. I went through around 10 rounds of edits with a manuscript I sold a few years back. And that doesn't count the copyedits that happened after we were done. That level of editing is tough to finance for the average sp author, which is why I started the thread there.

It was your comment of "At least two rounds of edits I do before I send to beta readers" which seemed a bit swift to me, Whibs. But whatever works for you is good.

Whibs123
09-09-2016, 08:44 PM
It was your comment of "At least two rounds of edits I do before I send to beta readers" which seemed a bit swift to me, Whibs. But whatever works for you is good.


Ah, fair enough. I used to rewrite more but my plotting process has helped me with that. I used to be a die-hard pantser, but no more:)

elizabeth13
09-09-2016, 08:52 PM
Ah, fair enough. I used to rewrite more but my plotting process has helped me with that. I used to be a die-hard pantser, but no more:)

I've found the same thing. Originally, I'd do five or six rounds of shuffling scenes and making subplots fall in order, but after starting to use an outline and think about the novel, I've been able to cut that significantly. I usually do two(ish) chunky edits (are scenes in the right place, am I missing scenes, is there enough characterization), followed by two rounds of line edits. My CPs are super forgiving and read after every edit.

Devil Ledbetter
09-09-2016, 08:59 PM
I don't know if I have it down to a process yet, but here are some things that work really well for me.

I use a spreadsheet to keep track of all those annoying little details that can screw up continuity (What was that minor character's last name? What make of guitar does he play? He has a tattoo of what, again?) I then use the search function to double-check those issues.

Likewise, if I even think I've repeated a phrase, used the same dumb word too often (why are my characters always perching on things?), had every character using the same word in dialogue (OK, OK, why do they all say OK?), the search function helps find and correct those problems.

Once it's written and edited to where I think it's solid (ha), I have it proofread by someone else. Proofreading is entirely different from beta reading - betas are for story feedback and I'd use them earlier in the process. But be sure to edit well so they've got a clean copy to work with. Slop distracts from the story.

I use TextAloud (a Word add-on) to read each scene aloud to me. It's mindboggling how often I drop articles, repeat words and otherwise just completely botch what reads to me like perfectly sound text. Nothing will highlight that dropped article better than a mechanical read aloud program. You should also be able to do this by dropping your text file into an E-reader like a Kindle and launching the read-aloud function. I've switched to Text Aloud because my old-school Kindle tends to skip over paragraphs for no discernable reason. Text aloud also lets me control which chunk of text I'm listening too. Often, if I rewrite a paragraph I'll drop it into Text Aloud to find the ways I've botched it while editing. I edit like Edward Scissorhands on his worst day.

But even TextAloud isn't going to let you catch everything. When you've written "gentlemen" where you meant to write "gentleman" your word processor's spellchecker is unlikely to catch it since "gentlemen" was spelled correctly, and you won't hear the difference in a read aloud program, and your proofreader might be so caught up in the scene that she misses it (true story: both of my proofreaders missed this very typo because it was in a comical bit of dialogue that distracted them from the error). Here is where the browser add-on, Grammarly, is your new best friend. I just dump one scene at a time into a browser window and review everything Grammarly has flagged. It catches all kinds of garbage that word processing spell/grammar checkers are oblivious to.

Once I've done all this, I do three or four more complete proofreads until I want to stab myself in the eyeball, and the job is done.

R.Barrows
09-09-2016, 09:29 PM
I've found that creating a list of "passes" I need to make through a document helps (whether I'm editing my doc or someone else's). Applying this to novels when I'm editing, I usually look for common issues with my own work and run a pass through for each one rather than trying to fix random things as I meander through the story. Using passes focuses your eyes on the specific details you're looking for.


Duplicate word use pass - you're reading for instances where you're using the same descriptor (usually an adjective or adverb) repeatedly in close proximity. Find a synonym.


Spelling pass - run the spell checker, don't just look for red squiggly lines. If you've made-up words, make sure you've added them the custom dictionary for the doc first.


Grammar pass - crank up the grammar settings and run through the doc. A lot of what is found may be inconsequential, but it's worth a pass. You may find something.


Comma pass - sometimes I go crazy with commas when I don't have to. Re-read the rules for commas and then run a search through the document for them and ask yourself if they should be there. Personally, I never have a problem with too few, it's almost always too many.


Active voice pass - you're reading for passive voice. Look for verbs of being and replace them if it makes sense to do so. Some passive voice is okay. I usually strive for 70 to 80% active voice. There's nothing wrong with occasionally using be, was, is, etc... but make sure it's what you want.


Dialog tag pass - In novels, I have a nasty habit of replacing said or using alternative dialog tags when I should write around the issue and identify the character a different way. (Lately I've been trying to avoid dialog tags altogether). This is usually a concentrated pass and takes a lot of time, but the writing is much better afterwards.


Flow pass - look at paragraph transitions and make sure they flow smoothly. Look at dialog and sentence structure and ensure the transitions aren't confusing to readers.


Assumptions pass - make sure you're not 'assuming' reader knowledge about something you mentioned a long time back, or forgot to mention at all. This goes to comprehension of what's happening. Beta readers and editors are good for spotting this (people who haven't read your novel yet). New eyes pick up things you won't because you already know the story.


Characterization dialog pass - for this, you run a search for the names of your main characters, specifically those who you've given lots of page time and a well-understood personality. Put yourself in that character's head each run and look at their dialog. Is what they're saying and the syntax they're using to say it in-line with the personality you envisioned for them?


Section break pass - I only add this because sometimes they get screwed up. Everyone breaks sections differently. I use a row of asterisks. Sometimes they end up with extra hard returns. It's something I usually look for after generating the doc and then I go back and fix it.


Generation pass - if you generate your own eBook, make sure you run through the entire document afterwards. Don't rely on software to do a good job without any work. You'll probably need to tweak something.


If you do a massive re-write or add new sections, then run all passes again on the changed material.

Zombie Fraggle
09-10-2016, 02:06 AM
I would find it self-defeating to count.

I edit until it's right, using as much non-me input as I can get, and plenty of me as I learn more about writing.

This.

I know I'm done with the self-editing process when I hate the book so much I would rather puke porcupines than read it one more time. My average is ten passes, each one focusing on specific elements, starting with does this story make sense if someone reads it cold.

Ravioli
09-10-2016, 02:22 AM
Hey guys, I was just wondering if anyone would mind sharing what their editorial process is like. how many rounds of edits do you do? How many beta readers? how many times do you use beta readers? eg, do you use them again after getting feedback and making changes you agree with? Do you use the same ones? What about professional edits? Or, are you a lone wolf and no one sees it before it's live on Amazon?

No betas so far, because I suck at trusting and also kind of don't know how to find someone for the angsty, dark smut I'm writing. Though deep down, I'd like a beta quite much indeed.
How many rounds of edit? Hahahaha ask anyone who's been helping me out with my main project, I don't know when to stop. I think we're hitting 2 digits if they haven't been exceeded yet. Professional edits: nope, I'm broke. I'm the lone wolf kinda person I guess, but I'd like to be more open and outreachy about my need for help. Except, I'm no great help to others myself, so I don't wanna be the mooch who asks for more than they've been giving.

Carrie in PA
09-10-2016, 03:02 AM
I couldn't possibly count the rounds of edits, I just know that there are many, many, many, many of them. I have rounds for different types of edits. I read through and make comments during my story edit, where I'm checking flow and continuity. I have a round for grammatical stuff. A round for proofreading. A round for seeking out unnecessarily passive/boring bits. Then, during any particular round, I'll think of something else I need to edit for, and search through again. I basically edit until my eyeballs are bleeding and I hate my story so much I want to stab myself with a rusty fork.

And that's usually when I spot another typo.

Aggy B.
09-10-2016, 07:12 AM
I write a draft of each scene in my head (no paper involved). Sometimes it's very rough, just a few lines and a goal for the scene/chapter.
I take that mentally drafted scene and put it on paper/into the laptop. There are refinements/expansion that happens here. (If I'm really struggling, I do actual paper and hand written words first, then polish as I type it up.)
Each scene/chapter goes to an alpha-reader who is gracious enough to read almost everything I write and I get basic yes/no notes back. (Usually along the lines of "Yes, it's great." Or "Could use some polish but the bones are there.")
After the book is finished, I usually give it a basic read-through before it goes to my agent. This pass addresses typos, continuity and sometimes revisions to smooth out transitions between scenes or chapters.
Sometimes he emails back notes and asks to see revisions. Sometimes he wants to talk on the phone and we discuss revisions and goals.
Depending on the project I may send him anywhere from two to seven drafts until he's happy with what he sees.
With the things I've sold, there has then been a round of developmental edits, then the copy edits. (But these have been to small presses who may not be as strict about branding their product so the individual story might be a little more individual.)

If I'm taking something straight to a publisher (i.e. a project too short for my agent to want to represent) I usually insert beta-readers in the part of the process where I put my agent.

Personally, I'm not afraid of or discouraged by the editorial or revision process so it's just a question of figuring out how much work each book needs. (I've had a couple of projects that needed 6-8 drafts, nearly from scratch. And a couple that were mostly done after the first draft, just needed a little bit of typo killing.)

chompers
09-10-2016, 10:14 AM
-rough draft
-halfway through rough draft I send to alphas to check I'm on the right path as far as premise and other foundational stuff goes
-finish rough draft
-send to alphas again/edit, depending on time or how much I feel it needs another pair of eyes before continuing
-edit
-send to betas
-final draft

zmethos
09-10-2016, 09:14 PM
Well, I used to be a member of a writing group. We met each week and submitted what we had then gave feedback, etc. Depending on the feedback, we might rewrite that chapter and resubmit, or else just move on and submit the next bit the following week. All this until we finished the book (it was mostly novels, though now and then a short story might get thrown in). Then we'd send everyone the full thing for one comprehensive read and get more feedback. At the same time, we each had beta readers, and we were either sending stuff to the betas chapter by chapter or all at once at the end. Obviously the amount of editing depended largely on the feedback and how we each, as writers, felt about it. I usually do 2-3 rounds of rewrites on any given project before querying. And then I've had R&Rs after that, too, which meant more rewrites.

Helix Denby
09-10-2016, 10:13 PM
My editing process is constant. Everytime I write a new section I go back and read what came before for consistency and flow. I tend to write in short bursts - a few paragraphs here, a few sentences there - so I'm always going back to what I've written after adding new content.

Cindyt
09-10-2016, 11:03 PM
https://static.wixstatic.com/media/8083c9_38f70fce400e4a5582ef76e912caf482.jpg/v1/fill/w_600,h_632,al_c,q_85,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/8083c9_38f70fce400e4a5582ef76e912caf482.jpg

Whibs123
09-11-2016, 07:54 PM
Well, I used to be a member of a writing group. We met each week and submitted what we had then gave feedback, etc. Depending on the feedback, we might rewrite that chapter and resubmit, or else just move on and submit the next bit the following week.


I used to go to a critique group too, but it ended up just not working for me b/c of how slow the revew proces was. Beta reading is much more of a good fit for me right now, but good betas are super tough to find.

- - - Updated - - -


https://static.wixstatic.com/media/8083c9_38f70fce400e4a5582ef76e912caf482.jpg/v1/fill/w_600,h_632,al_c,q_85,usm_0.66_1.00_0.01/8083c9_38f70fce400e4a5582ef76e912caf482.jpg


I like that.