With the manuscript finished, I thought I had done the hard bit. But no one other than me had read it yet, and the Husband kept telling me that someone else should. Scary stuff! I liked the story, but wasn’t convinced I was resilient enough to accept criticism (one of my numerous character flaws.)
Further Googling and Indie blogs (thank you thebookdesigner.com, @JFBookman, selfpublishingadvice.org, Derek Murphy @creativeindie) also informed me that traditionally published books pass through up to six rounds of editing before they go into print (and there will still be errors in them then).
CreateSpace suggested that if I was working to a budget, I should get as many friends as I could to read the manuscript and note any mistakes. Time to take my courage in my hands. As luck would have it, an annual ‘girls weekend’ was on the horizon. With half a dozen lifelong friends who have known each other since school. With sufficient wine inside me I managed to blurt “I’ve written a book, and I’m self-publishing it.” Their reaction was heart warming. Despite my self-concious apologies that it was far from high-brow literature, everyone wanted to read it. Each and every one of them was full of praise that I had even taken the task on. To be fair, we were all rather tipsy. One of my friends read a passage out loud – to much hilarity (one of the ‘naughty’ passages, this was a girls weekend after all). It was great to hear the words that I had written spoken out loud (she was a beautiful narrator!)
Five friends and my sister read the book and sent the edits back. Along with wonderful comments which made me start to believe I had actually written something worth reading. Although I had warned them that any criticism should be heavily sugared to avoid wounding me. Two of them read it twice, which was really gratifying.
Amendments made (along with a few of my own; I am still unable to work on the book without changing a word or a phrase here and there) the manuscript was finally ready to submit. Time to fully investigate my launch pad.