Despite going through his last few weeks of his Masters program, Austin’s been awesome at doing this editing project.  I imagine that when all is said and done, he’s probably going to hate me a little bit.  I don’t think he realized how much work this would be when I asked him to do it. In fairness, I am paying him, so there’s that.

I did the addition on word count of what we’ve edited so far, and we’re roughly a third done with the first draft’s edit.  Making good progress, but I think it’s definitely taking longer than either of us expected it to.

Remind me to never think writing a book is easy ever again.  The initial draft was an easier process and took less time than editing it.  It’s kind of surprising, when you think about it.

On the upside — once the first draft is edited, all of the spelling and grammatical mistakes should be caught, and I can focus on the content of what it all says in the second draft.

My plan is still to hire a professional story editor once the second draft is done, to make sure that the story works.  I may also solicit some friends to read it and just let me know what they think of it.  I’m still not positive that the story itself is even any good.  Hopefully it is. I’ll be able to solicit Austin’s opinion on the story once he’s done reading everything.

The process has been slow, but rewarding.  Having someone else make comments on the work, chapter by chapter, has been great.  Though there have been chapters that have comments that make me discouraged, overall the editing process is going quite well.

My goal is to be done with the first draft’s edit by the end of May, and then work on the second draft through June.  I’m shooting to have everything done and self-published by the end of September.  That includes recording the audio book, which I obviously can’t do until the story is done and completely edited.

That’d make the total turnaround time for this whole project about seven(ish) months, as I started in early March.  If I sell 1000 copies, I’ll be happy.  That’s my goal.  For something I just decided to do, have no backing on, and am financing myself, I think that’s a completely realistic goal.  Anything more than that will be cake.

Plus, at 1000 copies, I’ll have made my money back on what I’m spending out of pocket to have the book edited, published, the audio book recorded, and the various other costs associated with this whole thing.

Fingers crossed!

I’ve been hard at work with my editor buddy chugging our way through the first draft edit that we’re doing.  It’s been a pretty slow and grueling process, but on the bright side, we’re making good headway.

Based on the progress we’re making, I’m guessing this will take another 6-8 weeks.

Once that’s done, I’m going to do a whole read-through myself, to see if there’s anything that I want or need to change for myself.

Once that’s done, I’ll hopefully have found a professional story editor to go through the whole thing.  That’s assuming of course that Austin and Jen (my friend I’ve mentioned many times) think the story is worth moving forward with. Like I’ve said, I think the story’s good, but others may not like it.

I think I also decided this week that I’d like to do an audio book version too. Not because I think it’ll sell any better than anything else, but because I think it’ll be fun to record and produce an audio book!

I’ve been working with my good buddy, Austin, lately to have him go through my first draft and do a rough edit.  From what I’ve read online, that means he goes through and reads the whole thing, pointing out typos, grammatical errors, etc.  Of which there are plenty, I’m sure.

He’s also been pointing out things that I haven’t noticed as I wrote: describe this character better, this character said this here and something contradicting here.

We decided, rather than waiting for him to finish the whole thing, that he’d send me a few chapters at a time.  That way I can read his feedback, incorporate what he’s said, and not have the daunting task of doing that all at once.

One thing’s obvious — the editing part of this is going to not only take way longer than I thought it would, but it’s also going to take a lot longer than writing the initial first draft.

I went through the feedback this morning for the first four chapters.  It took me about 3 hours to incorporate the changes into my first draft.  There weren’t that many of them, it was just that going back and forth between his PDF with his notes on it and the editing application I’m using was time consuming.  Looking from one screen to the next and trying to find where the two words line up was taking more time than I thought it would.

So the good news is that we’re progressing with the editing of the book!  The downside is that it’s taking much longer than I anticipated.  With this new schedule and the rewrite I’ll have to do, I’m hoping that I’ll have been able to get the book done by September.  I’m setting an internal goal of having it be for sale before my birthday at the end of September.

My best friend is also reading the book, and I’ll be interested to hear what her feedback is.  So far I know she’s read through the first five chapters, and she said that it started a bit slow but once she got to chapter 3 she wanted to keep reading to find out what’d happen next.  I guess that’s a good sign.

I’m still worried about the whole thing.  It’s nerve-racking not knowing whether or not people will like what you’ve written, or sympathize with your characters or story.  It’s scary that you’ve invested so much time in something, and it may turn out your story is a giant pile of garbage.  I’m hoping that’s not the case, but only time will tell.

If you’ve read the book, I’m hopeful that you’ve enjoyed it. Or if you are reading the book, I hope you like it so far!

While waiting to hear back from my friends with their feedback and comments, I’ve continued to think of ways to improve the story.  Which is kind of backwards, given that I’ve asked someone to edit the first draft.

I’m thinking the characters need to be painted more as pictures.  I tried to do my best to describe them as people, but I’m realizing that it’s likely going to be tough for people to imagine what they look like, based on how they’re written.  Perhaps going back through the scenes where we meet our main characters and doing a better job of describing them would be beneficial.

I also have some notes about the story itself.  While I’m confident that the meat and potatoes (so to speak) are there, I think there’s some tweaking that can be done; dialog enhanced, scenes fleshed out more.

To be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing. I’ve never done this before, I’ve never taken any real writing classes (aside from high school English).  I’m dying to know what other people think about the story, but don’t want to be that guy who’s nagging them all the time.  So I’m trying to be patient and hang in there, waiting for the time to pass and for them to finish reading.

For now, I’ve started outlining the story for my next book.  I suppose I have nothing better to do while I wait, right?

I started reading through the first draft myself last week, and got to the fourth chapter.  I quickly realized that I was too invested in the story to do the actual editing myself.

So today I compiled a PDF of the first draft and sent it to my buddy Austin, who’s got an eye for editing.  He’s going to do the first draft edit for grammar, punctuation and whatnot before I can send it to the story editor.

I’ve also asked him to let me know if there’s anything glaringly wrong with the story or any of the characters.  Hopefully there’ll be some positive feedback there.

I also sent an iPad copy to my very best friend Jennifer.  She read the first chapter a few weeks back, and I asked if she’d mind reading the whole thing and letting me know what she thought.

To be honest, I’m terrified of this whole process. I’ve said it before, and I stand by it.  The process of sharing something so personal with someone, regardless of how well you know them, is terrifying.  Not knowing whether or not people are going to be receptive of what you’ve written, or if it’s not as good as you’d hoped.  Not knowing whether or not your characters are likable or not.  Not knowing whether or not your structure and chapters make sense.  All of it is terrifying, and it’s keeping me up at night.

Like I’ve said, I’m not out to sell millions of copies with this.  If no one buys it, I don’t care. I just wanted to write a book and get it out there.  And so far, I’ve come close to doing that.

I bought the ISBNs today, though they’re not really required for an eBook, it ensures that if I ever get any printed copies of it made, I’m covered with the same ISBN number. Or at least that’s what I read on the website that sells them.

Hopefully in a week or two I’ll have the first round of edits back, along with the feedback of my friends.  From there I’ll likely do some story touching up, maybe revamp some of the characters, tweak the plot points or something. I guess it really all depends on how the feedback comes in from my friends.  When I know more, you’ll know more.