Since there's been some interest in my own experiences with Lever, instead of keeping jumping in the middle of publishing questions, I'd like to do a few blog entries, from the beginning, of what *I* have learned about the writing biz (waving again to Billy Coffey's excellent blog and title). I am not an expert, although I tend to research compulsively and have some strong opinions that I will not poison you with as far as I'm able :-)
My own story: I finished my manuscript and was excited to sign with my first choice agent. For a number of reasons things didn't work out, and then I wasn't able to write for awhile (not related to the agent-writer breakup). When I got back in the game, I learned that no agent wanted to touch my manuscript because many publishing houses had already considered it; I didn't even have a complete list of who had seen it. I had three choices: 1) rename the manuscript and try again -- since I'd just done the agent rounds for a second time, I was dubious; 2) write my complex second book for which I only had a half-finished first draft, and anticipated much work (especially since I hadn't yet solidified my story template studies); 3) go outside the traditional publishing venues to publish my manuscript. I really believed in Lever. I figured I'd rather go for it and fail, so decided to go with door #3, and write on the side. The jury is still out on whether this enterprise will be a success, but I have to say that I'm very pleased at least with how the book turned out.
The first thing I saw when I put on my publisher hat was that I had to make really sure the manuscript was ready. It takes a lot of effort and at least some money to produce a book, and if the book is bad your effort is for naught. So, I took a good hard look. I hired an editor that in retrospect wasn't a good decision because I didn't feel she was helpful for what I needed; I also asked a few friends to critique the manuscript.
My friend Jane gave me a fabulous critique, and really taught me how to edit myself. This blog is getting too long so I'll go over some editing hints tomorrow. Let me just say that my manuscript to start was good. It had been represented by an agent with an excellent reputation, and sparked interest in more than one publishing house. However, it was not yet publishable quality. Normally a traditional house will buy the manuscript and bring it up to snuff, but since I was it, I had to do this. Getting my manuscript ready was the most labor-intensive part of this whole process, and also the most important.
Tomorrow: Some hints for editing
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