Ship Shape and Out to Sea!

“Touching the Moon” was a very different book when it was submitted to my publisher for review.

It was 45,000 words longer. It was titled “Wounded”. Julie moved to a town called Angus. And Gray explained all about werewolfery and its Scandinavian connection. There was even mention of Yeti.

My publisher asked me to cut the novel from 124,000 words to 89,000; the story is stronger for it. Angus became Fallston which, I admit, has a better ring to it. Scandinavia and Yeti met the delete button; hours of research drifted back into cyberspace. That hurt, but it wasn’t a mortal wound.

Unfortunately, just when I thought the rug was snugly back beneath my feet…I was asked to move the story to Colorado. And so began several weeks of concerted effort trying to convince my publisher that the states are not fungible goods!

To do that, I enlisted the help of the South Dakota Department of Tourism. They empowered me by providing tons of information about their wonderful state, so much so, that I lobbied successfully to keep my story in South Dakota.

As the manuscript was edited and formatted, I came to a shocking realization. The actual story writing was the easiest part of the whole process. Edits were gut-wrenching, but I did as I was told with a “sir, yes sir”.  And they took time, serious time.

Renaming the book was an agonizing decision that left me pie-eyed and sleepless and very conflicted.  Cover design was intense. Trying to capture the spirit of the book in font, color, and imagery was emotionally and intellectually exhausting… and all I had to do was point the graphic designer in a direction!

Then came the enormous weight of promotion! There was website design & functionality, social media and networking, solicitation of book reviews, bookstore outreach…and all the research that goes into each step.

When I set sail on this journey, I had finished a manuscript! I could see the horizon! But when I got there, I discovered that the “horizon” was not an endpoint, but rather a jumping off point. The horizon was a ledge!

Have you ever found your vessel to be ship-shape in harbor then have to question that assessment in seriously high seas?

4 Responses to “Ship Shape and Out to Sea!”

  1. Pennytent says:

    Was it worth it, in the end? How do you feel about going through the process again for the sequel to your current novel? Does it get any easier?

    • Lisa Airey says:

      The idea of going through the whole process a second time is quite daunting. It took a lot of courage to “pick up the pen” to write again just as the first book launched. Does it get any easier? Yes and no. My characters are fully developed, so I don’t need to ponder about how they will react to any given situation. That is a comfort. I’ve got the manuscript formatted correctly from the start. That should save time. And I’ve already got the second title and a working cover design. So, in some regards, I’m ahead of the curve. The tough bit this go round is trying to move the story forward in a believable, exciting way…writing to a prescribed word count…and hoping that my editor likes the new twists enough to keep them in the story.

  2. Lisa Airey says:

    Yep. That’s what I meant by the ledge. The horizon wasn’t an endpoint. There was a journey after that. Your PhD won’t be the end of the rainbow either…just the start point for another rainbow. But I hope you find your pot of gold! :)

  3. Lisa Airey says:

    I know exactly how you feel. The whole editing process is painful. So much effort went into putting words to paper in the first place that it hurts to lose a single syllable. But on my end, my manuscript needed the edits and is stronger because of a little slice and dice. It wasn’t an easy process. There was a lot of gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair and desperate wailing, but when I finished, I thanked my editor.

    Hopefully, I’ve internalized all the lessons and will deliver a second manuscript that will not spend as much time on the chopping block. And I can keep my head!

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