Because it's still with the proofreader.
It could have been worse, it could have been my finished manuscript, but even that is a small comfort.
Crimson, my book of short stories, has fallen victim to 'missing file syndrome'. Granted I heartily accept that it was my fault, in trying to utilise more space on my tablet, I lost the data. I moved the file from my internal drive to a storage device, but somehow the device didn't save correctly, and when I deleted the original file from the internal drive, it vanished. I returned to my back-ups, only to realise that I'd forgotten to back-up since November. I've lost one complete story and not the story I wanted to lose. It was my favorite story of the collection. I know roughly what happens in it, I have names, locations in my head, but I will not be able to write it the same way again.
So absolutely gutted and it's entirely my own fault.
As the title says, I've been editing this weekend. I think its fair to say that writing books is relatively easy, editing them is hard. You have to look at continuity, grammar errors, whether you changed Annie to Anna (and believe me I have). And no matter how much you look at it, no matter if it's been sent to an editor or not, you will always find something wrong.
I think that's the frustrating thing about being an self-published author. Even traditionally published and popular authors suffer from issues with poor editing, but unlike us self-pub types, the errors and poor editing that make it into their books, doesn't have the same impact that such errors would have on our efforts.
A missed formatting or grammatical error, because hiring a professional editor is out of our price range, has a massive impact on the reviews and impression of our books. True, there have always been cases where the utterly dire quality of the writing in a novel has boosted sales, as people want to see what the fuss is about, but generally, poorly edited works don't get the time of day.
So what's us poor self-pubbed types to do? Well in my case, I finish writing, then leave the text for a while, before I check it again. It then goes to my editor (and you need an editor - even if it's a fellow bookworm who can see the errors that you miss) After that, I make the changes requested, and I run it through grammarly, which is an online grammar checking program. (because affording a proof-reader is out of the question) I then leave it some more before checking it for a final time. For my current book, there's going to be another stage. I'm getting an ARC published, both ebook and paper. This will allow me to see my book as my readers will, and then I'll pick up some more issues.
It's a strange truth, that words look different on screen than they do on paper. I have read the same bit of text several times on the computer, but print it out, and everything alters.
So editing is key to everything, and as a consequence, it's the most frustrating stage of being a writer. It's easy to churn out a plot and some dialogue, but it's much harder to turn that sea of words into something understandable.
So that was my weekend, sat at my computer with soundtracks as my background music, trying to make sense of my book. I've added a chapter, deleted chunks of previously established character details, and I've still not finished.
But, editing is worth the pain, even when you miss some of the problems. This is partly the reason that Amber Sky is taking so long, I don't want to put out an inferior product.
The Amber Sky ARC will be ready soon, with the release date hopefully not long after that.
Of course I refer to the pain of attempting to finish a book whilst having to work for a living. Crimson is continuing apace, but not as quickly as I would like. I would quite happily just sit in this coffee shop all day and write. I have so many things to put down on paper. Instead I will have to pack up in a moment, and start my day job.
So I shall leave you with a small snippet of what's to come: Taken from Crimson, this tale of Red Riding Hood is on the more science-fiction side. It's a first draft and subject to alteration. Enjoy:
“Rosa.” The crowd turned to look as the shout echoed across the busy intersection. Several citizens whispered at the sight of the girl’s bright blue hair as she rushed past. Rosa watched with a smile as the fine boned figure easily dodged the crowd. “There you are.” She announced as she slowed to a walk.
Rosa stared across at her friend and gave a small smile at her enthusiasm. Hela was a sprite and her gregarious personality coloured everything she did. The ice blue hair, cut in a short pixie cut was an indication of this. Rosa’s hair was less vibrant and kept her natural colour of mousey brown. Often she wondered if she should dye her hair, but her Aunt would never have allowed it and her class would cast her out. Vibrant hair colour was for the sprites, the entertainers of the world and Rosa was no sprite. She wasn’t even sure what she was really. True, she fitted into the engineers class, but she often felt that she was missing something and she wasn’t sure what. It would have been more helpful if she could have asked her mother, but she had died when she was young.
“Have you been to the wall yet?” Hela asked, her voice thick with excitement.
“No,” Rosa had been on her way to the wall, but slowly. The results of the final range of tests had finally been posted, complete with the details to their future career. Hela had no worries about the tests, her future was clear; Rosa’s, on the other hand, was not as clear cut, she had tested highly for the Engineer career, but she had also received high scores in several others, which would mean she would have to choose and that was something she did not wish to do.
“Well let’s go then.”
Hela grabbed hold of her arm and they walked through the crowd towards the learning centre. Set on the one hundred and twentieth floor of the Charter Building and linked by a sky bridge, travel to the Learning Centre was a nerve wracking experience, particularly for Rosa, who suffered from vertigo. It took several minutes and endless coaching from Hela, for her to walk across the wide, graceful bridge. Stepping into the atrium, she walked past the reception desk and headed for the wall. Across the wide, crisp expanse, lists of names scrolled endlessly, waiting for a command.
With Amber Sky currently in editing, I'd like to keep you all updated on what's being worked on, and what's up next.
Crimson: My book of Red Riding Hood style short stories is coming along nicely. Two stories are finished and are awaiting edits. Two more stories are nearing completion, and the the rest currently have titles and an idea.
Faded Rose: Book three in the Night Flower series. Currently paused in the opening chapter. Will not be worked on properly until Amber Sky is out.
Shattered (working title): Stalled for the time being.
Haven: Sci-fi set at the edge of the solar system.
Eagle's Reach (working title): First in a set of standalone fantasy novels set in the same universe. This particular story has been in my head for twenty five years, and it will get written.
Emerald Forest: Book two in C.O.I.L.S of copper and brass.
Silver City: Book three in C.O.I.L.S of copper and brass.
Reach (working title): In the city of the future, one girl will find her destiny.
News about Amber Sky, my editor has reached chapter nine, so the editing is on its way.
Unfortunately, I have to push the publication date for Amber Sky back a month. The book is with my editor, but I don't have a date for when my editor's finished. Once my editor sends me back the manuscript, I can get started on the final run. I'll let you know once the book is back on my desk.
Sorry to push this back, but I'd rather put out a fully edited and perfect book, rather than a shoddy rush job.