Give a warm welcome to fellow MuseIt Up authoress of mystery, Sara Jayne Townsend.
Not The End
By Sara Jayne Townsend
From the age of ten, I dreamed of being published. It took me nearly 30 years to get a novel contract. In the early days, when it was just a dream, I always imagined it being the acceptance as being the ‘happy ever after’. When the first novel contract finally came – a couple of months before my fortieth birthday – it was, literally, a dream come true. But it didn’t take me long to realise that it was not the end of the story – it was merely the beginning.
Nowadays, finishing writing a novel is not as straightforward as it used to be. Finishing the first draft is still an achievement for me, and something I tend to mark with a celebration, like a nice bottle of wine. But it doesn’t mean the novel is finished. Not by a long way. First there are many other drafts to go – usually at least another two before I’ll even consider giving it to my beta readers. Following their (often brutal, but always fair) criticism, I will pull the manuscript apart and rebuild it, for at least another two or three drafts. Then, finally, it might be ready to submit, and if I’m lucky I find a publisher to take it on.
But that’s still not the end. Most publishers I’ve worked for go through at least three rounds of copy edits, sometimes involving significant plot changes. After that, a couple of rounds of line edits, which generally just pick up typos or grammatical nitpicks.
And then there are the galleys, which is the last chance to proofread the book before publication, and it never fails to astound me how many basic errors get picked up in this final stage, even after several pairs of eyes and at least seven readings. Letters and even words are missing. Punctuation is wrong. On one occasion, I noticed that a character who had gold framed glasses in the first half of the book suddenly had black framed glasses in the second half of the book. Several people had read the manuscript by that point, and no one had picked it up before.
But there comes a point when you have to let go of the book and release it out into the big wide world. I make a point of not reading my own novels once they’ve been published. Firstly, by that stage I’m sick to the back teeth of my own story, having read it far too many times already, and secondly, I’m afraid that I’ll pick up more errors and by that point I won’t be able to do anything about it. Frankly I’d rather not know, once it’s in the public domain, what’s still wrong with the book.
All this demonstrates the importance of editing, and not just of your own manuscript. Self publishing is a viable option these days, but if you go down this route it is essential to invest in a professional editor. No matter how many times you go through your own manuscript, you miss things. Editing services can be expensive, but they are an essential expense for the self-published author. Getting a second opinion is vital, and the very least that is needed. Ideally a third or even a fourth opinion is required as well, but once you’ve gone through the editing process, recruiting a couple of well-read friends to serve as proof readers may suffice.
Once upon a time I thought that the publishing contract would be the end of the story. Over the years I’ve learned that it’s only the beginning.
Brava, Sara Jayne! There is no way to expound enough on the many, many reasons why editors are the superheroes behind writers. I’d be lost without mine!
All right my loyal followers, ready to unravel a new mystery? Then you don’t want to miss out on Sara Jayne’s DEAD COOL!
They were dying to be famous. And someone was prepared to kill for it…
Actress Shara Summers has settled in London and is “between jobs” when her Canadian ex-boyfriend David sails back into her life, begging to her to fill the backing singer vacancy in the up and coming band he’s about to go on a European tour with. Short on funds and auditions Shara reluctantly agrees, but tragedy strikes at the opening night party when the band’s charismatic front man Dallas Cleary Anderson falls to his death from a hotel window. It soon becomes clear that Dallas did not fall, but was pushed. His arrogant and confrontational manner means there are no shortage of people who wanted him out of the band permanently – but who would resort to murder?
Click below to pick up your copy of DEAD COOL, Sara Jayne’s follow up to DEATH SCENE at MuseIt Up Publishing or any fine e-book retailers.
If you want to start at the beginning, don’t forget to check out the first in her amateur sleuth series, DEATH SCENE:
Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer of crime and horror, and someone tends to die a horrible death in all of her stories. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris. She co-founded the T Party Writers’ Group in 1994, and remains Chair Person.
She decided she was going to be a published novelist when she was 10 years old and finished her first novel a year later. It took 30 years of submitting, however, to fulfil that dream.