I’ve never worked with a book publisher before. It’s a new experience for me. My agent read and commented on my urban fantasy novels and usually asked for rewrites, but most of them only involved a few scenes. . .except for Fallen Angels. And that was my fault. I decided to make it multiple POV instead of single, and when I asked her about it, she said Go For It. Lauren’s wonderful that way.
I got lucky when Kensington took my romance novels. My editor, John Scognamiglio–who’s wonderful to work with, too–only asked me to change a few words in both manuscripts I submitted. I did a happy dance. Even the copy edits were pretty easy. Odd, isn’t it? After I went over that manuscript so many times, and my critique partners looked at every word choice and comma, it still had mistakes. But not lots of them.
The real wake-up call for me was when I got my page proofs, which I just finished and returned. I’ve never worked with a book publisher before, so I’ve never experienced proofs until now. It had an odd effect on me. I read the pages, looking for errors, and the words didn’t feel like my own. I couldn’t fiddle with sentences or structures any more. I couldn’t change anything except a mistake. I’d read a paragraph and just KNOW I could write better if I tried again. I even looked up a scene in my original manuscript because I just KNEW I wouldn’t use the word “specified” for that sentence. And guess what? I did.
I’ve always had a problem with my writing once it’s published. When I sold stories to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine or anthologies, I couldn’t look at them when I got my copies. I saw every flaw I didn’t catch or every description I could have done better. I didn’t like them at all, couldn’t see what I’d done RIGHT. I had the same problem with the proofs. Finally, I had to turn off my writer brain and read the pages as a copy editor. Only then did the words flow smoothly. Only then did I appreciate the story. I’m sure that says something about my personality, but I don’t want to think about it too much:)
The other thing that keeps throwing me is my pseudonym. When I look at the cover, COOKING UP TROUBLE, by Judi Lynn, I forget that’s me. I understand the reason behind the pseudonym. There probably won’t be a cross-over between readers who’ll like my romances and readers who like urban fantasy. The pseudonym makes a clear distinction between Happy Ever After and battles and bloodshed. But it’s going to take me a while to think of myself as Judi Lynn.
All in all, having a publisher has been a wonderful learning experience for me. My writing has progressed step by step, from short stories in magazines and anthologies, to finding Lauren as an agent and working with Sharon Pelletier to put my novels and bundles online, to selling romances at Kensington. It’s been a long journey. I’m no overnight success, and that’s all right. Because it’s been a fulfilling one.
BTW, my novella bundle–The Babet & Prosper Collection II–will be free Monday to Friday, Dec. 7-11 if you’ve missed River City and its witches and shifters.
My webpage: http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/
On twitter: @judypost