You wrote a book. Awesome! In fact, you’re so proud of it, you might even let other people give you feedback on it so that you can make it even better. Awesome again!
But, your book is really great as is. So, you won’t need to make that many changes in order to get a book deal and send it out into the world. Right?
Well, maybe not. But it’s more likely that, yeah, there probably will be some changes along the way. While I can’t say exactly what is best for you and your book, I can show you the changes that the first chapter of my book HEARTSICK went through along that bumpy road to publication.
A couple things to consider before we get started.
- Believe it or not, despite the many blocks of red passages, I actually thought this would be a good exercise to do with HEARTSICK's first chapter because, in many ways, it didn’t change much. There were many scenes that were cut completely and many new scenes that were added along the way.But this first chapter stayed relatively intact (meaning, it was pretty much the same scene) throughout the entire process. So these are the types of changes you might be able to expect in scenes that don’t end up on the cutting room floor.
- I’m starting with the first version I felt comfortable even sharing with people (i.e., my writers group). There were many other drafts that you don’t get to see here because, well, they are so shitty I don’t want to share them even in a “this is a rough draft!” way. My first (and second, and third, and….you get the idea) drafts are glorious, raw monstrosities that I, and I alone, get to see. But isn’t that what makes writing fun. :)
So, first, let’s just see how many overall changes we’re talking about here. What’s the difference between the version I shared with my writers’ group when this books was just getting going and the final, published version…
My critique partners are amazing and they pointed out several things I should change in the book overall. Some of those things affected the first chapter. This shows the changes between the version I sent to my CPs and the version I sent to agents!
And what happened with this version? I got an offer of representation from Andrea Somberg!!! This, of course, was fantastic news, but it in no way meant that my work was done. Far from it. Andrea worked with me on some major revisions that would make the book more marketable. I also sent the revision to two new critique partners to get additional feedback. These are the changes between the version I originally sent to agents and the version my agent sent to editors. :)
If you have any questions about this, feel free to add them in the comments below or shoot me an email. :)