Yesterday I began my epic quest to cut 21,307 words from Imminent Danger. Gah. I knew it would be a big job going in, but cutting that many words is something you can’t really understand until you’ve experienced it for yourself.
The first thing I did was print out the book, then grab a red pen and flip through it. I wasn’t doing a line-by-line edit, I was looking for entire sections that I could chop out. You know, scenes that were fun but didn’t contribute to the story, unnecessary exposition, too-long battle scenes, etc. So I spent a few hours doing that.
Then I went into Word and cut out all the sections I’d circled. I was pretty excited, because I got rid of several large chunks, so I was hoping for a massive reduction in word count. The result? I cut 3,000 words. Now, that’s a lot of words. But it’s nowhere close to 20k. Back to the drawing board.
Since cutting out major chunks didn’t work, I’ll have to go through the story line by line. And while this is easily the most onerous editing task I’ve ever undertaken, I’m buoyed by the thought that when I’m finally finished, my book will be better than ever before. What I really need is one of those eighties training montages, where there’ll be shots of me frowning at my manuscript, sitting in different positions around my living room, drinking coffee, falling asleep at my desk, etc. And then two minutes of montaging will pass, and I’ll thunk the completed manuscript down on the desk while triumphant music plays in the background.
Like that’s going to happen.
I’ll keep you updated as I go. I’ve cut out approximately 3,600 words so far, with another thousand hopefully going today. I need to be done soon, because I need to get the book published before the end of October if I want to take advantage of the Christmas season.
As for getting the book copy-edited, I’m still on the fence. A few of you have said that $2,200 is way too much to spend on editing, which I agree with. The other alternative, however, is to do it myself, then run the risk of missing something and being eternally embarrassed when everyone and their mothers point it out to me. Here are the three options, as I see it:
Option One: iUniverse copy-edit
$2,200, 2-3 weeks, guaranteed placement into the Editor’s Choice program (which opens the book up for other assorted awards)
Option Two: freelance copy-edit
I don’t know how much freelancers charge. I assumed it would be less than iUniverse, but the first link I looked at was $30 per 1000 words — e.g. $3,000. Anyone know any good, cheap copy-editors?
After the freelance copy-edit, I would fork over another $250 to iUniverse for a return evaluation, where they would consider me for Editor’s Choice (placement not guaranteed).
Option Three: do it myself
This one is free, obviously, plus $250 for the return evaluation. My current thought is to start with this option, submit the manuscript, and see what happens. If I get the Editor’s Choice, grand. If not, I can consider getting a professional copy-edit. Although if the manuscript isn’t up-to-snuff, I’m paying an extra $250 for the return evaluation with nothing to show for it.
I recently discovered the “poll” function on WordPress, so I’m putting this to a vote. What do you think? What should I do?
Ain’t it purdy? I gotta use polls more often. And thanks for listening to me ramble!
I’m pretty sure everyone in the entire universe has seen this video, but I nevertheless present it here for your nostalgic viewing pleasure (note: the song rocks, but the real fun begins at 0:50):
And for the funny image of the day …
You can do it!