I would never say writing is easy. Especially once you’re done with your manuscript. When I was done with the one for The Fall of Netherea I set out to find a publisher, and ended up signing a contract with Celtica Publishing. In this blog series I try to give my readers a look behind the scenes. Last time I told you about my proofreaders and the cover artist who created the beautiful covers of my trilogy The Shaedon Resurgence. This time I’ll tell you a little bit more about the editing process, and why you need to have a thick skin if you want to become a published writer.
Editing is more than being a grammar nazi
When I signed the contract to get The Fall of Netherea published I was as green as grass when it came to publishing books. I had no idea what to expect, nor how much work I still had to do revising, rewriting and accepting changes made by my editor, Caroline Kerstens. When she returned my manuscript all I saw was red markings everywhere!
I took a few deep breaths, stretched my back, cracked my knuckles and sat down at my desk. When I was finally finished going through the entire manuscript, I sent it back to Caroline, only to get it back with more red markings and feedback. I think this went on at least five times and we would argue about some things, but always found a middle road at the end. When the manuscript was finally done and edited the story read a whole lot smoother, it was well polished and nearly error free (I can’t stress enough how extremely hard, or even impossible it is to print a book without any errors). All thanks to the critical eye of Caroline! I’m very glad she was willing to do this for all three of the books in te series. Good editors are hard to find, but I’ve enjoyed our collaborations thoroughly.
The Publisher, your key to success
Every time I see aspiring writers post about their hardships finding a publisher I count my blessings. I was lucky, so damn lucky, to have contacted Celtica Publishing when I did. Not only was Rianne Lampers (the owner of Celtica Publishing) looking for a sciencefiction novel to publish, she was also willing to take the risk by publishing her first English book with my debut novel. Now I won’t tell anyone else that it’s easy finding a publisher. I think it all boils down to a couple of factors; the quality of your writing, the story itself, your reputation and network, but also a whole lot of luck.
Rianne was someone who saw something in my story. She saw the potential of the story and she was willing to take the risk of publishing my work. At the same time, she also told me that as a writer I couldn’t just sit back and relax once my book was published. I needed to make a name for myself, and that’s an ongoing process as far as I am concerned. You need to be “out there” on social media. People need to know you and your book exists. A publisher can go a long way in helping there, but you definitely need to put in a lot of effort yourself. Together with Rianne we’ve been working continuously to promote my books, by advertising (online and offline), sending review copies to book bloggers and by being present at the biggest Dutch fantasy and science fiction conventions.
All in all it’s a lot of work to ensure your success. I think we’ve come a long way and when The Xoron Redemption finally hits the shelves in March this year, I’ll finally have taken a big step in making a name for myself, having completed an entire epic trilogy. Over 1200+ pages of story in total! I couldn’t be more proud of this accomplishment, but I could never have done it without all of these lovely people and I’ll never forget that. Writing may be a solitary experience, publishing a book is teamwork.
The road ahead…
In the upcoming weeks I’ll be busy making The Xoron Redemption ready for print, but there will be more Road to Redemption posts in the upcoming month where I want to tell you more about my audience, bloggers and more behind the scenes stuff! Stay tuned for more. Until then…
Jeffrey, I am truly fascinated by all you said here about the editing process with Caroline Kerstens & working with the support & promotion of your books with Rianne Lampers of Celtica Publishing!!!!!!!!!! I was blown away with how many times Caroline had you “revise.” And most meaningful & appreciated by me through my own writing experiences (getting my degrees & writing a Masters thesis, writing as a teacher & principal, & then my website) was your profound statement, “I can’t stress enough how extremely hard, or even impossible it is to print a book without any errors.” I have never read a book without finding an error or “typo.” Your installments here on your website about the entire experience writing your trilogy is wonderful! But the biggest & greatest news to me is, ” ‘The Xoron Redemption’ finally hits the shelves in March this year”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I’ll have to find my old emails to Rianne how I purchased Books I & II !!!!!!!!!! This was a great post!!!!!!!!!!!! Phil