Revising Leah

December 1, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wasteland

So, December, we meet at last . . .

Today I finished my Thanksgiving week read-through of the final 9.5 chapters of my novel, and as that concludes, so too does the seventh revision cycle come to an end. Between now and the start of January, I might tinker with the book a little bit, but really, I don’t plan to do anything more with it until I start the publication process through Lulu. That means I have a month to kill.

I’ll try to continue posting (I have a couple of ideas for upcoming posts), but since if I’m not working on my project, there’s very little for me to write about. Since I started this blog, I’ve been good about posting something new every 2 or 3 days. In January, I intend to document the self-publication process through Lulu, for anyone who is curious, but until then, I’m going to have to really scavenge for post topics.

I also intend to catch up on some reading. This revising project has taken up most of my free time since May, and I’ve got a backlog of books to work through. Right now, I’ve been reading a self-published novel by Ray Holland called The Hermit. It’s a political satire/bawdy comedy sort of story. After working on my project for so long, it’s good to just read something for fun. I don’t have to edit the book, or look for plot inconsistencies, or ask myself, “How could I arrange this passage differently?” I can just read the story and enjoy it.

And that, I hope, is how readers will read Leah. One of the great tragedies of being a writer who is an irredeemable perfectionist like I am is that it is impossible for me to read my own work in the way that a typical reader would read it. When I open the file, I see hundreds of little things that I could change about the text, but that’s a very different mindset from the typical reader. A typical reader might notice something glaring, like a misspelled word, but he or she won’t be worried about whether I’ve chosen the best adjective for a sentence, which is the kind of thing that I obsess over. What I hope is that a reader will read my book as easily as I can read someone else’s book, but that’s the one thing that I can’t foresee and prepare for when I revise.



  1. So after you’ve published Leah through Lulu, what comes next? Have you got another writing project lined up?

    Comment by J.C — December 1, 2008 @ 5:08 pm

  2. I do. Sometime in 2009 (February maybe, but more likely March) I’m going to launch a new blog that will document my next writing project. I’ve already claimed the WordPress domain, but I’m still looking for the right blog design theme (I’m looking for something in a “magazine” style). For my next project I’ll be starting from scratch and my first order of business will be to compose the rough draft. I plan to use my new blog as an instrument of composition rather than as just an instrument of commentary like Revising Leah has been.

    Comment by jmreep — December 1, 2008 @ 5:34 pm

  3. I think every writer has a hard time looking at their story objectively. The same thing happens when you write something like an essay. You can look at it a dozen times and think you’ve got it perfect… Only to have someone else take a two second look and see a glaring spelling mistake in the first sentence. I’ve heard that sometimes it helps if you read things out loud?

    Comment by chibidoucet — December 2, 2008 @ 1:35 am

  4. I’ve been reading my text out loud since August, when possible. Reading out loud does help one to find mistakes that might be missed when reading silently. When I get to read the galley copy in January will also help because reading text that has been printed out is a very different experience than reading it on a computer screen.

    Comment by jmreep — December 2, 2008 @ 10:26 am

  5. Once you print through LuLu, what are your marketing plans? I am slow in embracing my own blog. Mostly, I hate writing witty things that aren’t in my books. Then I forget what was in a book and what was in a column, or simply something I’ve said. Ugh. Good Luck on your publishing future. Ara 13, Author of Drawers & Booths. and

    Comment by ara13 — December 3, 2008 @ 10:17 pm

  6. Marketing is the real trick when it comes to self-publishing. The marketing network and distribution infrastructure that the big publishing houses enjoy is the single biggest advantage that traditional publishing offers.

    One thing that I’m going to do to get my book “out there” is to make it available to as many online ebook marketplaces as possible. That’s actually an area of distribution where I have an advantage over the big publishers. I’m not out to make a lot of money, so I can offer my novel as an ebook at rock-bottom prices, sometimes even free, if that’s possible. That allows me to undercut the big publishers who still demand that customers pay the same price for an ebook that they would pay for physical copy. That’s absurd because an ebook file is infinitely reproducible in electronic format.

    What I want more than anything is to get my story into as many heads as I can. If I have to give my novel away, I’ll do that.

    Comment by jmreep — December 4, 2008 @ 1:02 am

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