Second Verse, Different than the First

More than half the point of reading writers’ blogs is to share in the disappointments and victories along the writer’s career track. Today, dear reader, I’m happy to share in a personal victory.

Revisions on The Curse Merchant are now complete!

"You got the touch... you got the pow-ahhhhh..."

Beyond simply blowing my own horn, I wanted to talk through my next steps for the sake of drawing back the curtain.

My first revision was dedicated largely to tying up loose threads, closing up plot holes, and tightening up the narrative. Copy editing is something that occurs along the way, but ultimately I’ll have to run the new draft under the eyes of an editor. Currently, this editor will be my wife. Thus my next step is to have her comb over the second draft for obvious typographical, grammar, and spelling errors. Because she is also a writer, she will provide substantive editing input… catching the continuity errors, lapses in dialogue, and sudden, unexpected shifts in characterization.

Once she has completed her course of editing, I will make any changes I feel are indicated from her notes (and if they are major enough, may be considered a third draft), and send the sucker out to some beta readers. These readers will be tasked with a much simpler mission: read the novel and tell me what they think. This is marketing research, in a nutshell. I want to see how the manuscript will be received, not by industry professionals, but by the people I hope will buy the book. I simply need to know if they like it and what they liked about it, as well as what they didn’t like. I need to know if the plot was too confusing. I need to know if they like the characters. I need to know how women receive the story versus men. It’s the big-picture kind of input that someone with an editorial eye won’t provide.

Depending on the input from my beta readers, I may be in for another course of revisions based on their comments.  I assume this will be the case. When the fourth draft is ready, I then will be faced with a decision.

Self-publish or submit?

This question has never been more difficult to make. Countless blogs have dedicated space to the issue of self-publishing, so I will skip the salient points and go straight for the consequences to me. If I choose to submit the novel to literary agents, in hopes of finding one to shop the manuscript to the publishing houses, then I will have to prepare synopses and queries, and begin the long slog of researching agents in my genre.

On the other hand, if I choose self-publishing, then I will have to be absolutely certain that my manuscript is air-tight. This will likely mean securing the services of a professional editor, and investing in a thorough editing. I would then have to find an artist to create enticing cover art. Then comes the formatting, making sure the entire manuscript is rendered in solid HTML for exporting to eBook formats. And so on and so on until the manuscript is uploaded and ready to market.

Then I would have to market the book. If it isn’t already obvious, I have already begun the marketing push via this blog.

So, that’s where I stand with The Curse Merchant.

I have put Omnipotence on indefinite hold, as I am focusing on Merchant. I feel that Omnipotence requires more work than I had figured. Either that, or I need to dramatically reconsider my plans for that novel. It’s in such a state of indeterminacy, that it’s really harshing my calm. So, I feel it needs some space.

While I wait for my wife’s substantive editing, and my beta readers, I’ll have free time on my hands. And that will be the perfect time to begin pre-writing my next project!

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