Late last year I was offered a publishing contract. Unsurprisingly, once the words reached my ears, it was hard to focus on what else my new editor was saying. Important information as it happened, such as when the publisher wanted the second novel, a novel that was nothing more than a short pitch at that moment. I was too busy playing the phrase ‘two book deal’ on a loop in my head.
That initial moment of euphoria eventually subsided and then I read the notes I’d taken during the meeting; at least I’d written something while my brain was off doing high kicks. That’s when it really sank in and I had to go and lie down, stare at my ceiling and contemplate the deadlines.
After that came the signing of a two-e-book deal with HQ Digital an imprint of Harper Collins/Harlequin. And then a busy and exciting start to the year. Lots of research, plotting, word counts and, of course, editing my debut. What I’ve discovered is that after years of honing my craft; getting to grips with plot, character, how to write a synopsis and pitch letter and the rest of it, I still have a lot more to learn.
It was a high point to receive the editorial feedback. This was the first stage that advised how I needed to revise the novel to bring about its full potential. Making those suggestions happen, and doing them justice very nearly sent me over the edge. I may have sent an email to friends saying that I hated the novel and I never wanted to see it again. The friends talked me down, suggested gin and a night off from editing and thankfully that worked.
After that came the line edits where I discovered with relief that the first round of
revisions had actually gone OK. I thought I was on the home straight, until I got the copy edits back. Now with my fresh eyes on the manuscript I began to notice discrepancies, clunky sentences, repetition. With each change came concern that I might never let the manuscript go out into the world and I would just spend the rest of my days in a deranged state of perpetual editing; a tweak here, a tweak there. I called in a beta reader to break this pattern and reassure me that it makes sense.
Every time I hit send and it goes back to the publisher I am edging closer to publication, and when that day finally arrives I really will need gin and a lie down, in no particular order.
My debut novel will be published with HQ this summer. Follow me on Twitter @Allie_Burns1 for the latest news.