Thanks again for having me SCWW ! For those of you following the progress of my book, HILL COUNTRY HOLDUP, it’s been a crazy three weeks.
Crazy Day One, March 3rd: Phone call from agent summary--Just spoke with your editor, who really would like to have your proposal by March 15th. How’s that coming? And she mentioned that you should be receiving your copy edits any time. I sent my agent chapters 1 and 2.
I can’t write my mental answer. LOL But my verbal answer was: I still have the last 10 pages of the 50 page proposal to finish (yes, remember that last elusive 10 pages from the last blog?). I’ll get the proposal to you by Sunday.
The phone call kicked my muse in the *** and while I was at the concession stand I wrote almost 7 pages in about three hours. And it wasn’t half bad. I actually liked it. Fleshed it out and sent it to my critique partners on Friday.
Crazy Day Two, March 4th: Package from Harlequin arrived that afternoon. The copy edit instructions were to return only the pages I made changes on. So I dialed a fellow Intrigue author and she explained in detail what to do. Whew...thank goodness for friends. I told myself I had to finish the proposal before looking through the edits.
Crazy Day Three & Four: Softball tournament. I made corrections to my proposal between restocking hot dogs and pickles. Seriously, the lap top came in handy between customers. I still didn’t look at the copy edits. I realized that my editor had asked the pages to be returned by March 11th. YIKES! That meant that I had to overnight the corrections on Wednesday.
Crazy Day Five, March 7th: Critique group helps me for several hours. Car broke down. My daughter’s home for spring break and took my phone away from me. Yes, she really did. I applied all the critiques, did some rewriting, and was about to submit chapter 3 to my agent. BUT, when I signed on, there were corrections for chapters 1 and 2. I worked on the corrections until 3 am--just couldn’t finish.
Crazy Day Six: Submitted my corrected proposal on Monday morning. Again, I didn’t look at the copy edits until I’d hit SEND on the proposal. Began editing at 4:30 and left the dining table at 9 pm. First read through the edits, all the simple edits made. My edits are on post-it notes (as suggested by my friend and author, Kay Thomas--who has a book out this month). I spoke to my editor about one plot question and she mentioned she’d really like the proposal on Monday or Tuesday.
Crazy Day Seven: Again, dining room table (hard chair kept me awake), 8 am through 4 pm. I rewrote all the copy edits onto the page, and re-copied my post-its neatly. Completely finished around 11 pm.
Crazy Day Eight, March 10th: Slept late. Got the pages and envelope ready to mail to Harlequin. (I didn’t forget the address this time.) I opened the door and--I’m not kidding--it began to hail. Flooded everything for fifteen minutes. I got in hubby’s truck, drove to copy my pages with corrections, it flooded again. Another delay. THEN: debit card wouldn’t work and the Post Office had a line 22 deep (I counted just for this blog--LOL). When it’s my turn, everything’s in order, the Postal worker asks if “COPY EDITS” written on the envelope meant I had sold a book. Yes. She calls friends over, they congratulate me and--not kidding--made a mistake and had to begin everything again. But she was nice and wished me luck so how could I get upset? Edits are in the mail, time for more proposal revisions. Oh and did I mention that my daughter sprained her ankle?
Almost Sane Day Nine: Softball tournament. I worked on revisions throughout the day.
Completely Insane Day Ten, March 12th: The laptop didn’t save any revisions. In fact, the entire file disappeared. I wasted two hours looking for it. Had to email my agent that the proposal wouldn’t be ready until Sunday. THEN I had to re-correct, and rewrite what I’d created on Thursday. I worked hard on the rewrite of chapter two. The first draft was choppy and too-fast.
Another Almost Sane Day Eleven: Softball tournament. I worked but not on writing.
Sunday, Day Twelve: Again, no phone, no Internet, no distractions, just writing until I submitted the proposal.
D-Day: Proposal Due, Monday, March 15th. I submitted the corrections to my agent at 11 am. I was about to run errands...but I received an email from my agent three hours later-- The first chapter’s fantastic, chapter three’s really good. Chapter two has a better overall tone, but is a bit repetitive. I whined for at least two hours. Tried calling everyone I knew for sympathy. Then worked. It took another two hours, but at 7:59 pm I hit send on the proposal hopefully for the last time.
D-Day Plus One, March 16th: Errands. A meeting. Out of the house. Away from the computer. Phone call from my agent--Angi, it looks good, can we change these two words? YOU BET !!! The proposal was submitted on Tuesday, March 16th.
A note about my Copy Edits: I was very fortunate that my copy edits were simple, one-line fixes with the exception of three or four paragraphs. I didn’t have any disagreements about word changes. There were no plot problems. It was mainly clarification. And it’s not completely the norm to only have one week to fix the errors and return to your editor. But the reality is that it happens and you should be prepared. It took me three days to realize I had less than a week, simply because I don’t work off a dated calendar that often. When you work at home (and from your home) and don’t have children to remind you what day it is...well, dates run together.
I discovered that it was hard making the revisions to the proposal every day. It was difficult, but I managed it. I found all the versions began to jumble in my brain. I couldn’t remember what I had revised and what I needed to revise. For the last revision, I printed a copy of the three chapters and kept it in front of my screen. I’d make a change, but left my screen where it was--using the paper copy to find where the information might have been or what I had said previously. Find what works for you, but my advice is to write, wait, come back to it, and make your revisions when you can look at it objectively several weeks later. Have more than one proposal ready when you sell and avoid those Crazy Edits and Revisions!
This week’s lesson learned: I can write better under pressure, but I don’t recommend it for anyone.
‘Til next time,
Some upcoming topics of discussion:
An On-Going Behind the Scene Look at Getting Ready for Publication
(promotion, AA’s, character sheets, log-lines, bios, etc.)
How I Chose My “Dream” Agent & Editor
My Hero Has Brown Hair?
Targeting Your Book & Choosing Your Market
Seeing Your Cover For The First Time