So, the edits for my second novel are finally finished. Once again, it’s been a really thorough process, making me feel that every aspect has been considered, to make the book the best it can be.
Here’s how the system works for those published by Choc Lit:
The Tasting Panel
Choc Lit has a panel of readers who review all manuscripts that make it through the initial submission process. If the book is accepted for publication, their comments are passed to Choc Lit’s editor. She takes them into account as she judges for herself the work that needs to be done.
She goes on to produce an editorial report containing her feedback. The directions at this stage relate to any fundamental points that need to be addressed – whether it be pacing, characterisation or a hole in the plot. Because my books are mystery/crime, I live in fear of some terrible blunder relating to clues or red herrings, so it’s reassuring to have someone go through what I’ve written with a fine tooth comb.
Line and copy edits
After I’ve made my amendments in response to the editorial report, the manuscript (with my tracked changes) goes back to the editor again. She reviews my alterations, and either accepts them or raises further queries/suggestions. And then the line and copy edits begin. These involve her feedback on the nuts and bolts of the novel: everything from checking facts, spelling and grammar, to looking at the time line of the story and the flow of the text.
After I’ve responded to the line and copy comments, the manuscript goes back to my editor again for a proofread. This is an extra chance to pick up anything that’s been missed, or any niggling problems that still need addressing.
I then get the manuscript back to proofread myself, and the last tiny tweaks are made.
And that’s the stage I’ve just reached. The finalised manuscript has gone back to my editor, with all our mutually agreed changes in place.
You might think that’s it, but now it goes to another member of Choc Lit’s team, for one final check before it’s published!
In my experience so far, the nice thing about edits is that I never feel I’ve lost control of my story. It’s always clear what needs to be achieved, but there’s plenty of freedom about how to do this. Suggestions are on offer, but you’re free to go your own route – so long as the editor feels the original problem has been solved by the time you’ve finished, of course!
And now it’s on to the next part of the adventure. I know the original title I gave my book – A Stranger’s House in Cambridge – is going to change, but I don’t know what alternative/s will be suggested. And then there are cover designs to look forward to. I love Berni Stevens’ work, so I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.