The blog must be getting a lot of new readers, because we keep getting questions regarding editing of the Sweep of the Heart, when and if it will be published, and how the whole thing will work. I’m tagging this a story post so everyone will see it.
I particularly liked this comment from one of our German readers.
Sadly, more is not always better when it comes to editing, even when more money is involved, but it made us both feel so appreciated. BDH is the best.
Writing a serial can be done in 2 ways: one can either prewrite the whole thing or one can write it in real time, with each installment posted as written. The Innkeeper Chronicles are written in the second way, meaning we write an installment each week, have it proofread, and then post it on the site. This kind of approach has pros and cons.
Pros: the narrative is flexible and can be adjusted on the fly. If a lot of readers are confused about something, the next installment can clear that confusion up. If the readers enjoy a particular side plot, more time can be devoted to it. The Innkeeper Chronicles are shaped partially by readers’ feedback and comments. It makes for a more fun, interactive experience.
Cons: it’s much more difficult to write. In a regular manuscript, a writer can take a wrong turn, decide they didn’t like it, and cut a large chunk.
Innkeeper Chronicles don’t allow you that kind of luxury. Once it’s posted, it stays, so one has to be very sure of where they are going.
Also, the readers’ feedback tends to be a double edged sword. Too much negative feedback can be detrimental to writing the first draft, which is what Sweep of the Heart is. It takes a lot of courage to share an unpolished version of the narrative with the world, and a writer’s creative vision tends to be fragile at this stage.
Despite everything that’s happened in our lives this summer, we only missed one week this time, when we went on vacation, and a large portion of the credit for that goes to Mod R who catches the harmful comments before we ever see them. We were able to simply drive on, which means that BDH gets the story on time and our creative direction isn’t compromised.
Finally, there is another very large con: the serial nature of the narrative. A novel is a cohesive story. It has a flow and a pace. The narrative accelerates, slows, speeds up again, drops the reader off a cliff, and rescues them in the next chapter. But a serial narrative must deliver some sort of emotional impact with every single installment. Every scene becomes a tiny short story that’s almost self-contained. It must be memorable because there is a week-long gap. When all those short stories are put together, the overall story could end up feeling fragmented and disjointed. And that’s where the editing comes in.
The first draft of the Sweep of the Heart should be finished next week or the following week. Once it’s done, we will read through the whole thing, address some of the issues that had cropped up, make sure that the time flow makes sense, and smooth some of the jagged edges like abrupt transitions between the scenes or clunky sentences. Sometimes we might add a short scene to make the story flow better. Sometimes we will shorten scenes. So basically tweaks.
At this point the book will go up for preorder, and you will see an announcement on the blog and in the Release Schedule.
Once that’s done, the book will go to the beta team. We don’t typically hire a developmental editor for Innkeeper projects because again, we have posted them already. If we make too many changes, the readers will feel shortchanged and disappointed. So you don’t have to worry about major changes, like deleting core scenes or characters.
The beta team will give us reader reactions. We will edit one more time with those in mind, and then we will send the manuscript to the copyeditor, who will thoroughly scrub it.
Then it will go to proofreaders, who will be looking for typos and formatting errors and to the audio reader. We are hoping to release the audio at the same time as the ebook, which actually accounts for a delay of a couple of weeks from our first projected publishing date. Audible has been taking longer and longer to approve files.
The finished version of the book will go on sale. It should have several illustrations and will be available in ebook, audio, and print on demand formats. We are in negotiations with some publishers to see if we can deliver another Innkeeper themed collector edition to those of you who like pretty hardcovers. As of now, we are considering bundling this book and Sweep of the Blade. So if you are planning to buy a POD printed edition – it will be cheaper – to keep rather than to read, you might want to hold off for a little bit. We will let you know more closer to the release date.
And that about covers it.