On Thursday January 5, 2012 I emailed the ‘final’ revisions of my debut novel to my Editor at Flux (and by ‘final’ I mean that the file I emailed will be transformed into the ARC and so there are only a small number of revisions left between now and the scheduled date of publication in Sept. 2012). Two years ago this month I signed with my agent for this book. Two years before that I started writing what would become HENRY FRANKS.
Almost five years (give or take) from
concept to publication. It took less than three months to write the
first draft. I’ve been editing ever since.
There are numerous
books to help edit and revise, and beta readers to tell you what works
and what doesn’t, but nothing changes one simple fact: if you don’t
edit, it’ll never be as good as it could be. Editing changes everything.
Every line, every word of HENRY FRANKS (even the title) has gone
through revisions. And you know what? It was fun. It was worth every
So, you’ve finished the first draft…now what? Well,
first of all, a small celebration is in order. If I had to guess I’d say
most people have, at one point or another, thought ‘I’d like to write a
book’ (or something to that effect). Far fewer of them started and even
fewer finished. You accomplished something, even if no one knows about
it. Even if, like most first drafts, it’s in need of serious work. You
Ok, time for the fun part (otherwise known
as ‘work’). Always remember that there is light at the end of the tunnel
(and sometimes, yes, it’s a train, but every so often the train is
actually going your way). Don’t give up because you don’t think it’s
worth it or you don’t believe you’ll ever finish.
I long ago
lost track of how many versions of HENRY FRANK I went through to get it
to where it is now. But every time I finished a revision the book was so
much better than the last revision. And I know, deep down in the secret
places of my heart, that once I’m holding the book in my hand, flipping
the pages and marveling at the reality of my debut novel, I know that
I’ll find something more I could have should have might have changed.
Just a little. Maybe a missing word. Or an extra word. Or something that
I wish I had revised.
Just one more time.
trust me, revising will be the best thing that ever happened to that
finished first draft of yours. And it will also be the best thing that
ever happened to the second draft. And one day, before you know it,
you’ll think to yourself ‘it’s time to query’ and because of all the
time you’ve spent revising and learning to edit and editing again that
query will be an extension of the manuscript, rich with your voice and
the hook of it will land an agent.
And guess what happens then?
You guessed it, more revising. More editing. Until one day your agent
will let you know that they believe it’s time to submit to publishing
houses. And one day, before you know it, your phone will ring and you’ll
hear nothing your agent says beyond the word ‘sold!’
And, I almost hate to say it, but guess what happens then?
it will all be fun. It will all be worth it. Every single moment of it.
Because when you stand there flipping through the pages of your debut
novel, marveling at the reality of your sweetest dream come true, you’ll
find something you could have should have might have changed.
Just one more time.
Peter Adam Salomon graduated Emory University in Atlanta, GA with a BA in Theater and Film Studies in 1989. He
has served on the Executive Committee of the Boston and New Orleans
chapters of Mensa as the Editor of their monthly newsletters and was
also a Judge for the 2006 Savannah Children’s Book Festival Young
Writer’s Contest. He is a member of the Society of Children’s Book
Writers and Illustrators, the Horror Writers Association and The Authors
Guild and is represented by the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. His debut
novel, HENRY FRANKS, will be published by Flux in September 2012.
Peter Adam Salomon lives in New Orleans with his wife Anna and their three sons: André Logan, Joshua Kyle and Adin Jeremy.