The long process of making a book a reality took a big step forward this week: I finished the first round of edits and returned the draft to the publisher!
About three weeks ago, I received the edited version of the manuscript. The publisher hired a professional copy editor who did a fantastic job. The changes weren't major, but the improvement was. The text is much tighter now, with fewer extraneous words and convoluted sentences. He also trimmed some of my overused phrases, such as "One of the many ways" and "Blogging allows you to". It was a true pleasure to see my words made so much better by a true professional.
When you receive the revised draft, your job is to go through all of the edits and approve each one, or modify them as you see fit. The editor also inserts questions throughout for you to respond to: usually requests for clarification or pointing out that some text introducing the next section is needed. In addition, he does some basic fact checking, makes things consistent throughout (Internet or internet) and even tests web addresses for accuracy.
At first, I was overwhelmed by the sight. On my screen was the digital equivalent of 225 pages with red pen marks on them. After working through the first chapter, though, I started to see how much better the text was after the changes and really appreciate the seasoned edits. It's not too often in our professional lives that someone else comes in after you with the sole purpose of improving your work, while you still get all the credit :) It's like book therapy or something.
This round of edits carried some additional pressure because it was the last chance to make significant changes or additions. I rewrote quite a bit of the Preface, but the rest of the book remained largely the same. Hopefully, I won't discover a brilliant missing chapter or anecdote in the next few months.
Next, the publisher incorporates all of the edits into page proofs. For the first time, I'll be able to see what the text will look like on the page, with the final styles and layout. I'll receive these pages in late September and have three weeks to read through them and make all last minute tweaks and corrections. After that, the book goes to print for release in January!
Right now, the endorsements, forward, and cover are being finalized. I'll share those as soon as possible!