The Name of the Sword is done

eBook will be available February 19:

Posted on February 9, 2015 by Jim

Just over a week ago I received the recommended edits and changes from my content editor—Kelley Eskridge—for The Name of the Sword, the conclusion to The Gods Within. At that point in the development of a manuscript, it may take anywhere from one to four weeks to review and incorporate the edits, plus another week or so for proofreading and final formatting.

Because of the unknowns in the timing, I go completely mum, drop everything, and go to work. For this book I spent 10–12 hours a day, for the last eight days, rewriting, and rewriting, and I finished yesterday. At this point the unknowns in the timing have been eliminated, and now it's a matter of chugging through copy editing, proofreading and formatting. These are predictable, so I'm comfortable committing to a hard date for release:

  • The eBook will be available on February 19, and
  • the trade paperback will be available about a month after that.

When the book's Amazon page goes live, I will send out an e-mail to everyone on my Reader Update List with links included. If you're not already on my Reader Update List, you can sign up here.

2014, a tough year

This has been a tough year for me; I don't mean in the sense of a family tragedy, or terrible disappointment, or anything like that. But I'm used to putting out 200,000 to 300,000 words of writing a year; that's 2–3 novels. And in 2014 I was limited to the 120,000 words in The Name of the Sword.

Looking back, that's understandable. In the first three books in The Gods Within I created this complex world of the Shahot, and Morgin, Rhianne, Valso and all the rest, with all the plots and sub-plots that came with it. And to close it out, I had to spend a lot more time thinking, plotting and organizing to properly finish the story. But I must add: I am incredibly pleased with the result, and I think you will be too.

Copy Editing:

For those of you not familiar with the process, a copy editor checks a manuscript for punctuation, grammar, and little inconsistencies such as: in a scene someone entered the room wearing a blue shirt, and left it wearing a red shirt, and they didn't strip down and change in the middle of the scene. This is one of the last steps in the writing process, dotting the t's and crossing the i's, as it were.

For their best writers, publishers used to provide two or three copy editors to review the manuscript in serial, under the assumption that it's impossible for any one person to catch all the little typos. However, in today's financially brutal publishing environment, it is apparently rather uncommon for more than one copy editor to be assigned to a manuscript.

Content Editing:

On the other hand, a content editor checks a manuscript for narrative grammar, plot consistency, character consistency, and many other issues; frequently things that are quite intangible. Sometimes the feedback from a content editor is something like:

"This scene just doesn't work for me," or "This character is acting completely out-of-character," or "This character is emotionally flat."

They look at things such as the motivation for the characters; are the characters motivated to do what they're doing. Lack of motivation makes for a very boring story. On the other hand, the proper motivation can force a character to make a horrible mistake; when the stakes get high in a way that we, the reader, can relate to, the gut-wrenching fear and excitement comes with it.

Content editing is not cheap, can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $4,000 for a 100,000 word manuscript. I use the services of Kelley Eskridge at Sterling Editing who is incredible. From her I get 20–40 pages of typed, single-spaced critique, detailing what I've done both right and wrong. She frequently suggests solutions to issues, though sometimes both she and I find ourselves at a loss and have to think about it a bit. She can only suggest, but I have found that I act on almost everything she points out, no matter how trivial.

Kelley, thank you.

For those of you who read The Name of the Sword, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.