January 21, 2015
"You have my attention. For now."
What I personally did on a crunch time schedule (in order to pull off releasing 4 novels in about a year-and-a-half without cutting corners) was different, and this is how I did it (giving the example of one novel--and whenever I have down-time during these stages (waiting for editor/reader feedback), I'm working on the next novel):
Wrote Kings or Pawns all the way through (while my editor edited chapter by chapter as I fininshed them). If I didn’t have an editor working with me on a daily basis, I would have written a chapter, edited that chapter, and then wrote the next chapter—I would have still worked chapter by chapter.
Next, I went through and edited the entire book.
Then, I gave it to three readers for early stage opinions. At this point the novel is not in glorious shape and you don't want to waste your reader base by throwing this early stage work at all of them. What feedback you get (plus your own instinct) is probably more than enough to offer you the knowledge you need to make next stage adjustments.
"Why? Why would you show me this...?"
I took their feedback and revised and edited once more. (plus editor round again).
Then I gave it to four readers for revised draft opinions. At this point, your novel is hopefully at a fairly decent point. The readers you are giving it to now should not come back with the same issues/advice that your gut/first readers did--but sometimes, what you did wasn't enough. Don't stress.
"How can there be more issues NOW?"
I took their feedback and edited/revised the book again (plus editor round again). Hopefully this is your last time! Your vision for your novel as well as your gut reaction to the content and reactions should have put you in a great place. This should be the last time any "major" changes should be needed. It's time to get your last readers.
Then I gave the book to eight readers for final opinions.
AND THEN TOOK A 2 ½ MONTH BREAK. DO NOT underestimate the importance of clearing your head! When you go back, it’ll be like reading it for the first time (if, like me, you can barely remember what you had for breakfast this morning) or at least give you a fresh mind. You WILL do your best editing after this. Also, while you are taking this break, focus on the marketing aspect for your novel. You can never do too much of this.
"I don't even remember how I got here."
Then, I took their opinions and gave the book a final two rounds of edits (focusing on themes, symbols, and motifs and minor content change).
Last but not least, Alexandra Birr will give the book its final analysis, editing, and buffing to make it shine like Incan gold.
And that, my friends, is when you get it.
"I have been waiting for this since I discovered your existence five minutes ago!"
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