Friday, January 3, 2014

Sneak Peek: My Revision Journey So Far

Sometimes it feels like there's a thick, mysterious curtain  between the world of querying and finding an agent, and the world of signing a contract and starting work to make our manuscripts into books. I'm not sure why that is. I think writers are mostly willing to share their experiences. Maybe it's just that they don't want to show off ... or maybe they get busy (raises hand!).

I thought I'd share my own revision experience so far. Obviously, my timeline doesn't apply universally, but hopefully you'll find it helpful/enlightening in some way.

I signed my contract for Red Butterfly back in August. Of course, I'd known I had a book deal for awhile before that, but I couldn't talk about it until the official announcement came out. You all know how that goes. Secrets, secrets, secrets!

I started my first round of revisions in August. These began with the UPS man arriving at my door and handing me a large manila envelope filled with -- you got it! -- a print-out copy of my book with hand-written notes from my editor. The envelope also included an almost ten-page editorial letter and a November deadline.


Actually, I was pretty excited about it. You know how firsts are always exciting. Even when they're deadlines.

That edit was a big one. I had a ton of back story to figure out/change and a lot of extra poems to write. I added six thousand words, which is a lot for a verse novel.

I handed those revisions in early (because, you know, deadlines were still exciting), in October. My editor got back to me in a little over two weeks (he's amazing like that) with more revision notes. This time the (much, much shorter) editorial letter came by email, with hand-written notes in the UPS man's manila envelope.

This time I had a month and a half to make changes. There was still a lot to do, though not as much as the first round, and, I'm happy to say, despite my laptop crashing, I was able to turn in my edits the day before the deadline. (Phew!)

My crazy-fast editor got a third round of edits back to me by the beginning of December and gave me a week to make changes.

But this time it was little things, and the editorial notes arrived via marked-up Word document in an email. I tidied everything, sent it back and voila! Got the okay. We were finished!

Except for copy edits, which should be arriving on my doorstep sometime this month. I'll keep you posted!

In my next post I'll talk about a related subject to this: how my six/seven years of querying and writing rejected novels prepared me for my first deadlines. I hope it will be encouraging, so come back to read it!

Until then, if you're a published author, was your revision experience similar? If you're not published yet, is this the idea you had of what revisions would be like? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

And, lest I forget, Happy New Year to all!

Photo credit: Sgarton from


  1. You make it sound so exciting and stress-free. :o) I love that you work so well with your editor. Happy New Year!

  2. Happy New Year to you, too! And it really is interesting seeing the timeline. It's still a mysterious shroud to me. Someday . . .

  3. This doesn't sound quite as scary as I'd imagined it to be! And you go killing those deadlines! =D

  4. Happy new year, Amy! So fascinating to read about the process post-book deal --- thanks for sharing. Go you for kicking those deadlines' butts :D

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this, Amy--yep, it is fascinating to those of us on the pre-published side of things. I can't believe you had to add 6000 words! Great job meeting all the deadlines!

  6. Thanks for the peek into the editor-writer revisions. I think I would faint at a 10-pg editorial letter wondering what it is that they actually liked about the book, hee hee ... but my experience with the shorter work-for-hire books has been similar (though we do almost all our exchanges via email and Word docs with track changes).

    Happy New Year!!!

  7. Wow. Sounds overwhelming at first, but at least the packages got smaller each time. :)

  8. Thanks for sharing all this. It's good to have a realistic depiction of deadlines. So glad you're tackling them. You rock, Amy!

  9. How exciting to receive that package!!! Thrilled for you. Positive thoughts on those revisions.

  10. how exciting! Thanks for sharing your experience. I'd like to say 'I can't wait for editor notes!' but I'm really not looking forward to that part:) lol

  11. Yes, its very similar to that for me too. We're getting our third round of edits really soon. So far they haven't been too bad. Can't wait to read this Amy!