After I’ve finished my first draft of a new novel, the next step in the publication process is first-round edits. This is the stage where my editors get their first full look at the new book, and give me their editorial feedback on it. For Alex Verus #12, Risen, these arrived a week or two ago.
Editorial feedback can mean a lot of things. The sort that writers are scared of is the kind where your editor tells you that they loved the book and they think it’s perfect, they just have a few small suggestions . . . and then the “small suggestions” turn out to be something like “instead of making the main character a detective, we want you to make him a singing purple dinosaur.” (This is an exaggeration, but not by much. I’ve never been asked to change my main character’s species, but I have been asked to change things like their sex or the world the story takes place in.)
In the case of the Alex Verus series, the books that changed the most in the edits stage were book #1, Fated, and book #5, Hidden. In both cases it took months of planning and rewriting. Rewriting a book is very difficult, much harder than writing a new one from scratch, since everything you change has the potential to cause knock-on effects in the rest of the book and make other parts no longer work. It’s sort of like trying to redesign a complicated machine after it’s already been built.
Fortunately, as the Alex Verus series has progressed, this has happened less and less. Book #10, Fallen, and Book #11, Forged, had very few editorial changes – in both cases my editors sent it back to me with the message “we’re not suggesting any big changes because we think this is really good already”.
And thankfully, the trend’s continued with Risen. From beginning to end, including responses and discussion, I’ve been able to do the first-round edits in barely over a week. The edited manuscript was sent to my publishers on Wednesday. I still have to do copy-edits, proofreading edits, and author questions, but if I had to guess, the version of Risen that I sent off two days ago is about 99% identical to the one that you guys are going to get your hands on when the book comes out this December.
So in short: everything’s going well! Risen is on schedule to be published on December 2nd 2021 in the UK, and December 7th 2021 in the US.