So far back in time it seems shrouded in wisps of cloud, November 1, 2017 I wrote the first paragraph of a novel titled Keep Me Safe. The original title was Close Enough to Perfect, like a song by the same name. Concern about copyright infringement interfered with my concentration on the manuscript, so I ditched the working title for one more descriptive of the content. So, good! I accomplished the first step.
Within months, I completed the initial manuscript and felt that events were moving along satisfactorily. Until I engaged a few beta readers, who, at no charge, agree to read and comment on manuscripts. I didn’t have a previous acquaintance with my readers, which was a plus. The first beta reader was really a zeta reader, since she was a non-starter. Once she received the manuscript e-file, she dropped into the great unknown.
My second beta reader did better, although eventually I had to hound this person for responses. At about chapter twelve (of 86 chapters) and after six months of sporadic reading, she decided she “might” want payment of $2.00 per page. I was polite but noncommital and decided to wait until she requested additional chapters—which she never did. Darn it! She had made several insightful suggestions up to that point.
I hit the jackpot with reader number three. I would immediately write her name here in all caps, except I haven’t asked her permission. What a delightful person, so well-informed and professional, and with a history in the publishing industry. As a first reader and a beta reader, she proved to be the best I could have hoped for. I will always treasure her contributions to this novel.
But this part of the publication process had taken nearly a year, until mid- 2019. That was bad news.
This poor manuscript needed a developmental editor in the worst way, and I contacted an editor who impressed me with her blogs on writing. After we agreed to terms the first week of September 2019, she asked me to delay emailing the manuscript until after she took a two-week vacation. Well, what was I going to say? Now, I knew this wonderful editor was not in good health. I wasn’t aware how very much her poor health would affect the timeliness of the work.
The first round of developmental edits hung fire until the spring of 2020, and this last round of edits is only three-quarters complete today, August 4, 2020. I’ve been told another vacation is looming, and I’m crossing my fingers the edits show up before then. Did I mention that developmental edits are not cheap?
I find myself wondering if this book has become an albatross around my neck. Initially, I wanted to try the traditional publication route for six months before going to self-publication. But time’s a-wasting, folks, with miles to go before I can put this baby book to bed.
Just so you know, I haven’t been doing nothing while all this has been taking place. No, indeed not. I’ve written another book titled Indelible Marks, based on a character who appears in Keep Me Safe. I shudder to think it may be the start of another two-year process.