I’m not sure how other authors edit their books, but I’ll give you a glimpse into how I did mine…
After I finished The Son of Perdition, I printed out a copy and stapled each of the 20 chapters separately. I then took a red pen and made notes and changes as I read through it. I then created a new doc file and re-wrote the entire novel, taking note of all my own suggestions and at each sentence stopping to ask myself, “How could I write this even better?”
When that was finally over and done with, I took the book to a printing place and printed and bound six copies which I gave to unbiased family and friends that I trusted for honest opinions. They ripped it to shreds.
Once they were done, they handed their scribbled copies back to me and I worked through each one’s notes and suggested changes; taking great care to discern between nit-picking corrections and valid changes that needed to be considered and implemented.
I then printed another copy—yes, many a tree were slaughtered for the quest of perfection—and once again worked through it with a pen. I treated myself to coffee at coffee shops and slowly sipped away while making my notes. It’s odd, but people look at you as if you’re someone important when you’re scribbling away in a manuscript.
Only then did I have a product that I thought was worthy enough to release to the public. The problem was that the book was really thick and no publisher in South Africa, Australia, the UK and USA wanted to touch it. So I shelved it for a few years while writing my other novels.
As a novelty, I went to a printing house that was able to print and bind the book like an actual novel. After I heard about the Kindle, I toyed with the idea of releasing the eBook. Work conditions at that time hindered me and I let it go for another year or so. About three or four months ago, I finally decided take the leap and took the bound book from my shelf and worked through it—once again—with a red pen.
The result is what you can download on Amazon right now. The book is nowhere near perfect and one could tinker with it until the Second Coming, but I think if I messed with it any more, it would lose some of its raw quality that makes it a good book to begin with.
Here’s a picture of the bound book with my notes in it:
And the sad part...? If I ever DO manage to somehow make it one day, I'll be regarded as an "overnight success" ...