#AmEditing: Is there anything more tedious?

This is how I’m feeling right now as I comb the manuscript of my novel, In the Fullness of Time for errors, for what seems like the umpteenth time, before releasing it  for publication. My beloved work, which I had so much fun writing over the past sixteen months–I’ll gag if I have to read another word of it again.

You’d think it would be error free by now. After all, this manuscript has been put through its paces–three professional edits and three rounds of revisions before submitting it to Amazon’s CreateSpace for conversion to print-ready and Kindle-ready formats. And that was after I had spent hours on my own, fixing all the typos and making the punctuation consistent with the Chicago Manual of Style 16th Edition and Merriam Webster Collegiate Dictionary 11th Edition.

But after completing a second reading since Friday, I had found eighteen errors in the finished interior proof from CreateSpace. At this point, making changes becomes even more tedious, as well as expensive. Each correction must be entered onto a spreadsheet and submitted for change; each change comes with a charge.

For example, I had used the term woman suffrage in my characters’ dialogue to refer to the women’s suffrage movement, because that’s how I saw it referenced in publications from the early 1900’s. In the Fullness of Time is a historical novel and I wanted to maintain historical accuracy.

To correct inconsistencies discovered on this last reading–virtually changing an a to an e, and removing an apostrophe–required entering the following information onto the spreadsheet:

Change Number–2

Interior Proof Page–50

Paragraph Number–1

How the Incorrect Text Currently Appears–interest in women’s suffrage

How the Corrected Text Should Appear–interest in woman suffrage

What’s Changingchange a to e and delete the ‘s

After submitting my list of corrections, eighteen in all, CreateSpace will assign the work to a project team member and bill me for the changes. They will return the edited proof within five days, and after I approve it, they’ll send me a printed draft of the book for final approval. At that point, all I’m required to do is push the “Print” button on my author dashboard and wait for publication.

Within about 24 hours, In the Fullness of Time will be posted on Amazon and ready to order in hard copy version. Very shortly afterwards, the Kindle version will be posted and available from the same location.

My experience as an Indie author publishing through Amazon, has been an extremely positive one, in terms of the quality, formatting, and readability of both the finished print copy as well as the Kindle copy.

I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how versatile the CreateSpace services are in accommodating every author’s budget and need for professional help. The prices are also reasonable and competitive with similar e-publishers. However, I’ve discovered–and CreateSpace will frankly remind you of this–that it’s the changes you make that will add up and increase the final cost. (Unless you are doing everything yourself.)

The author pays a flat fee for services–e.g., editing, cover design, interior design, conversion to Kindle. When the service is completed, the author is given the opportunity to accept the work with the click of a button. Once that button is clicked, any changes will incur additional cost. I’m probably going to pay $79 for this last set.

What annoys me is that I thought I’d caught everything. Only three of the errors were of any consequence–a question mark where a period should be; a missed punctuation mark at the end of a sentence; and a character’s name incorrectly spelled. The other errors could technically have been overlooked; however, I’d be paying a flat fee for twenty or fewer corrections. Might as well fix everything for the same price. Besides, I was getting to that stage of paranoia that every author must come to just prior to releasing his/her work for everyone to see. I’m seeing bugs everywhere! Nothing looks exactly right. So many flaws! The picture I posted above–that’s what the editing stage can do to you.

I have to remind myself that no piece of writing is ever finished or flawless. I can’t hold onto it forever. With this last investment of $79, I will have done the best I can do, and it’s time to let it go.

The next time I post a picture on this blog, it will be of me  doing a happy dance. When you see it, you’ll know I finally pushed the “Publish” button.


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