Sunday, July 27, 2008

Revisions, Revisions, REVISIONS!!!!

Someone asked me the other day how long it takes to write a book, and I realized that I had absolutely no idea! What I did tell him was that, while I write pretty fast, a book is never written just once, but about ten or fifteen times!

I just finished going through what I sincerely hope is the last version of Warrior and emailed the changes to Sourcebooks. It's a good thing I write what I enjoy reading, or by this time, I'd be sending my novels into cyberspace rather than publishing them. Our editor seemed to think it was better than Slave when I first sent it to her, but it's gone through so many changes since then, I'm not sure anymore.

However, what I can tell you is that even after having read through it a million times, it didn't get boring. There are still parts that make me smile, some that make my heart beat a little faster, and others that give me goose bumps, so from my perspective, it's still a good story.

Of course, what really matters is what the readers think. I've gotten a lot of positive feedback on Slave, and several have told me that they loved Jacinth's kick-ass attitude and Cat's sweetness. I'm pretty sure that Leo is every bit as appealing as Cat--those Zetithian boys are pretty irresistible on principle--but Warrior's heroine, Tisana, is a little softer, more feminine, and may appeal to a different kind of audience. Perhaps it will have a broader appeal, but what I wonder is, if you'd read the first one and didn't care for it, would you bother to read the second? Do readers ever give an author a second chance, or are they banned from the reader's list forever?

What are your thoughts?


  1. Cheryl,
    I always give authors a second chance, particularly where romance is concerned. Each book has its own worth. Having been through the revisions gauntlet, I can sympathize with how it can leave you feeling as if you don't even recognize where you started. One day the word is: "This is fabulous" and the next day they send you a two-page list of things that need to be fixed. Keep your chin up, buckaroo. The "fabulous" days help cruise through the two-page list days.

  2. I've wondered some of the same things, Cheryl. You and I are in the same boat. Our first book with Casablanca was our first book period. I hope the more experienced among us will chime in on this one.

    My $.02

    I'm a compulsive reader so my reply might not be representative, but here's my experience.

    I can't recall ever refusing to ever read another book by Miss Maybe Notmytaste. In fact whatever led me to the author to begin with, will likely make me pick up another book by her. If the second book has one of my favorite plots (most romance readers have one that's their most special favorite: secret baby, Cinderella, Marriage of Convenience, etc)then the chances are very good that I will buy it.

    If I like it, she will go on my BOLO list. If I don't...well... she might not get another chance for several years.

    But I've seen first book/second book go the other way, too.

    There is one romance writer whose work regularly shows up on the best seller lists. I read one of her books and loved it.

    The next time I saw one of her books,I bought it, anticipating the same fun. Boing! I couldn't finish it--and I'm a compulsive reader, remember? I knew it had to be a fluke, so I bought another one. Same thing.

    And then there are writers whose work I have loved for years, and whose books I have bought on the strength of their name alone, but their last two or three books have disappointed me so much, they have gone on my Approach With Caution list.

    I've used a lot of words to say, "I don't know."

    You wrote a book you love. Your editor feels the same way. Other people will feel the same way.

  3. Hey Cheryl,
    I'm a great believer in second chances, and thirds and fourths... FOR WRITERS that is! :-) In other walks of life, not so much. This winter, when my furnace wasn't working correctly, the repairman had to come out FOUR TIMES before it finally started functioning correctly. I think you can guess that after #2 I was NOT a happy camper...

    So sometimes second chances are a very good thing, but for HVAC guys, NO WAY!

  4. I spend a ton of money on books. I'm a compulsive book buyer and a compulsive reader--I easily read a book a day.

    Because I do spend so much money, I get really angry when I buy a book only to be terribly disappointed. Now it's one thing to read a book that was okay, if it was just okay, I'll give the author the benefit of the doubt. It's when I buy a book that is so bad, I can't believe it got published, that I draw the line. I might pick one of the authors books up at the library to see if he or she has improved, but I won't spend money on them. I also refused to buy books from authors who aren't nice. I get them from the library too.

    Oh, and just so you all know, I've bought a copy of every Casa Authors book I could get my hands on. I haven't read them all yet, but I will. Believe me.

    Robin :)

  5. I've been going through a weird phase where a lot of my auto-buy authors have lost my interest. I'm not sure if it's because I have less time to read these days (although, like Robin, I can devour a book a day) or if my standard have gotten higher or what, but my taste definitely seems to be changing. I read a recent release by a once-favorite author and really didn't like it. Not sure if I would read her future books.

    I've been reading Brenda Novak's new "Last Stand" series, which I've enjoyed a lot. The grittier and darker the suspense, the better, as long as there is still a good romance in there somewhere!

  6. Christina,
    Glad to know you'd give me a second chance. The trouble is, those "fabulous" days don't seem to last nearly as long as the two-page fix-it list, do they?
    Before this series, I'd never written anything but books that stood totally alone--though I never sold one, and if I had, I'd have only had my name to go on for that second book. I suppose that's why publishers like the series concept so well--hoping for repeat buys on the author AND the series. In a way, it's easier to write a series, but I keep wondering if I'm not writing the same book over and over again.

  7. Mary Margret,
    I do know that there have been a few authors I try to avoid, but to be honest, sometimes I forget the name when I'm in the bookstore and buy them by mistake! Other times, I'm hunting for an author I like and can't remember what I've already read! I suppose I should take a list with me....

  8. Aunt Cindy,
    *sigh* I'll even give the repairmen a second or third try--I've sort of had to, actually. They get it right eventually, but sometimes it takes landing the smart one to get the job done. I found that out with plumbers earlier this year!

  9. Robin,
    I used to read quite a lot, but lately, the Casablanca gang's are about all I've read in the romance line since writing now takes up most of what was formerly my reading time. This does not include reading Harry Potter, which I consider to be more a form of psychotherapy than entertainment! Harry keeps me sane...

  10. Marie,
    I know what you mean! I go into the bookstore these days and come away with nothing unless it's a book by one of you guys. Maybe writing romance makes you lose some of your interest in reading it. I don't know if that's the real reason or not, but I definitely used to buy a lot more books than I do now!

  11. Great post, and interesting question. If I don't really love the story but love the voice, the author gets a second chance. If I don't love the voice, that's it. I have favorite authors who occasionally turn out something I can't finish without skimming, but while it's disappointing, I know they can deliver, so I always check out what's next. I will say, though, that if a few stories in a row are "skimmers," which has only happened rarely, my interest wanes.

    I don't read like I used to since becoming a writer, which is a BUMMER (book a day girl here, too), and I tend to pick more things outside my subgenre. Too close to home, anymore, and I'm trying to escape from work when I'm reading! It's why I love my historicals. They're still fairy tales, in a way, but nothing like what I write otherwise.

    Revisions can be hard, but the finished product always comes out the better for them in the end! They always feel a lot better when they're DONE:-)