Editing seminar snapshots – how long to allow for rewrites

w&alogoThis week I’m running a series of the best discussion points from my talk at the Writers & Artists selfpublishing event. Yesterday I covered how producing a good book requires an editorial team. Today, it’s about allowing enough time to use their feedback properly.image_00007sml

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Editing – will it derail your schedule?

One of the points I made was how long to allow for rewrites after the editor has done their worst – er, best. (Here’s my post on a publishing schedule for indie authors. )

I get a lot of enquiries from first-time authors who have already set a publication date and allowed a nominal fortnight or so to sort out the book after my report. They have no idea how deep a developmental edit might go. Especially for a first novel, or a first leap into an unfamiliar genre, you might need a few months to tune the book up. I know some writers who’ve taken a year on a rewrite, and I recently wrote a document of 20,000 words on a book of 100,000. Equally, other authors don’t need as much reworking and should have a usable manuscript inside a month.

But don’t make a schedule until your editor delivers their verdict – er, worst.

Thanks, Henry Hyde, for the pic of me 🙂
Next (after a brief sojourn at The Undercover Soundtrack): negative criticism
Have you had editorial feedback (whether from an editor or critique partners) that required major rewrites? How long did it take you to knock the manuscript into its new shape? Were you surprised?

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  1. #1 by Carol Riggs on December 2, 2014 - 4:29 pm

    I’ve done major rewrites. Working pretty much full time, it usually takes me 3-4 months. Another time I took a couple of months to rewrite a novel from third person into first person (it’s NOT just a matter of changing the pronouns!!).

    • #2 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on December 2, 2014 - 8:07 pm

      It does take a long time, doesn’t it, Carol? And I like your point about switching to first person. It’s a completely different journey. I hope it all clicked after that.

  2. #3 by Rebecca Bradley on December 2, 2014 - 9:18 pm

    20,000 words that’s a dedicated report Roz!

    • #4 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on December 2, 2014 - 11:27 pm

      Yep, I’m rather thorough, Rebecca! That’s why a report takes me a while to do because I read in such detail.

  3. #5 by DRMarvello on December 3, 2014 - 1:25 pm

    I recently had this discussion on an author forum I visit. We were talking about when to put your book up for pre-order. Some of the authors writing shorter works would put the book up for pre-order before they’d even finished the first draft. I’m not that brave. On any size book, I would at least wait until I got editorial feedback for the reasons you mention above. I believe in creating deadlines for yourself, but missing Amazon’s pre-order cutoff annoys potential customers and eliminates your pre-order privileges for a year.

    • #6 by Roz Morris @Roz_Morris on December 3, 2014 - 9:00 pm

      Hi Daniel! I think the only safe time to create a pre-order is when you know you’re on the very home stretch – and certainly not when you’re in a state of exhaustion and just want to get the book out because you’re fed up. I was talking to a publisher today who said he’d encountered several authors who just wanted to get the darn book out of the door because they wanted to move on. Moving on is one thing, but publishing because you’re knackered is not going to do anyone any good.
      And you’re right about Amazon pre-orders. You have to hit the deadline or you’re banned for a year.
      Hope all is well with you!

    • #7 by DRMarvello on December 4, 2014 - 10:46 pm

      Things are going great. Thanks for asking. The third book of my trilogy did well upon release and revived the sales of the first two books. I just sent my contemporary paranormal fantasy off to beta readers, and I’m wrapping up the world building and plotting on my first western-period fantasy. Fun times.

      I see the “rush to publish” mentality a lot. Sometimes it’s as you say–they just want to move on to something else. The authors who hate revision seem to suffer from that the most. I also see a lot of authors who feel pressured to keep pushing books out the door in order to remain visible. The Amazon ecosystem definitely rewards authors who publish frequently.

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