Friday, April 15, 2011

Editing in the 21st Century! My experience in Interactivity

With all my other published books and short stories, the editing process was always very similar - once the work had been accepted and editing time came up, the publisher went through the manuscript then sent it back with the edits (normally by email sometimes regular mail) for me to review, make changes, and if necessary go another round.

Well, not this time! For Price of Mercy I got to experience a whole new way of getting my manuscript edited. I've seen the future. And it is bright and interactive!

The publisher of several of my novels, Zumaya Publications, has been pushing the envelope to make their processes easier for themselves and their authors for years. A PHP based website with scripts so they can add books to the listings easily; most communications done through groups or online and via email, even having voice conversations using Skype; shared calendars so authors know where they stand and can book time via Google Cenlendar. Now Liz has gone one other step further.

Using what technology is already out there, she prepped me up through Google Docs to do the novel's edits. We went chapter by chapter in two hour blocks over a little less than three weeks time.

In Google Docs, we could both open the document and make changes AT THE SAME TIME! I could see where she was at all times (a little cursor with her name on the screen) and any edits she made as she made them. It even popped up a chat box beside the document so I could ask questions or vice versa! There was even the ability to add a comment box on particular lines like you can with Word's Track Changes feature.

As she'd explained before we started, the new process saved a lot of time as there was no lag between her edit and my accepting/rejecting/or questioning said changes as it all happened right there and then. It truly went pretty fast!

The only thing I believe would have made it better would have been to be on Skype at the same time, as I occasionally didn't realize she'd typed something or vice versa. (Ugh, she even did a horrible Sherlock Holmes joke on a typo of Lestrave's name which I'd accidentally made to be Lestrade. She typed that sucker out before I could type out my own, "No, don't do it!" lol.

But maybe it would be safer not to be connected by voice, or she would have heard me whine as she mercilessly slashed uncessary words off the manuscript. (Though I suppose that's what the Mute switch is for.) Heh heh. (Ah yes, editing pain never hurt so good!)

Overall it was a very eye opening experience and I think made the edit better besides. What made it more fantastic was that as we worked on this thing we were both in totally different cities, yet it made no difference. The future truly is bright!

Have any of you had experiences with new ways, technology, etc that you feel have improved your life? Some that you think have made things worse instead? Come share!


Price of Mercy - a fantasy with a medieval French flair should see the light in April or May 2011.

How best to punish treason? Make the traitors into immortal slaves!

Sample chapters and more info at


  1. Ooh, I'm kind of nervous to do this with my own upcoming book with Zumaya. I did get a webcam, just like Liz suggested. It'll be interesting to go through the same process as you did.

  2. I need to get a webcam myself. Really it's a pretty good process. And she'll let you take baby steps if you need it. You'll be amazed at how it zooms by!

  3. This sounds fantastic. I had no idea, but it makes sense that editing will change the way everything else has, and for the better. Congrats on your forthcoming book.

    I used Skype for the first time when our granddaughter who's in Prague talked to her sister and mother during the holidays. It was fun. Now I want Skype.

  4. Skype is free! So go for it. You just need to get a usb headset for the computer and you'll be set. Liz has a LOT of experience using Skype for phone calls. I've used it to hook up with other players of the same MMO so we can talk while we play. A truly useful innovation.

    I've a feeling we will see more and more of this type of thing as time goes on. Thanks for reading!