Guest Author Erica Vetsch: Editorial Process From Manuscript To Publication

Today I am delighted to welcome guest author Erica Vetsch here to share her expertise. We will be giving away a copy of her new release to someone who leaves a comment. Erica is a transplanted Kansan now residing in Minnesota. She loves history and reading, and is blessed to be able to combine the two by writing historical fiction set in the American West. Whenever she’s not following flights of fancy in her fictional world, she’s the company bookkeeper for the family lumber business, mother of two terrific kids, wife to a man who is her total opposite and soul-mate, and avid museum patron.


A Bride’s Portrait of Dodge City, Kansas: Hoping to leave the shadows of her shady yesteryears behind, Adeline Reid is focusing on her photography career. But when her ex-boyfriend’s compatriot in crime shows up in Dodge City her entire past is threatened by exposure. Can Addie keep her secrets while helping to catch a killer? Deputy Miles Carr’s investigation into a shopkeeper’s murder leads him to Addie’s door. Will his attraction to this female photographer keep him from catching the true culprit? Or will Addie lead him off course in more ways than one?


First, let me say thank you, Michelle, for inviting me to visit Thoughts On Plot. (Love the name, btw.) I enjoyed getting to know you a bit at the MN NICE meeting, and I hope we have a chance to meet and talk writing again very soon!

Since I just turned in edits on a couple of projects (one to my publishing house, one to my agent) I thought I’d talk a bit about the editorial process a manuscript goes through before publication. One small caveat—each publishing house has their own method, but the major terms and sequence should be similar from house to house.

My manuscripts go through a boatload of edits before the book lands on a bookstore shelf. After I’ve completed a ms, I edit it myself using the L-CARP method (my own term.) This is a form of editing triage that goes from the big-picture problems down to the small ones. The five steps to the L-CARP method are:

  • Logic & Plausibility
  • Characterization
  • Action
  • Repetition
  • Polish

You can read more about the L-CARP method in a guest post I did at Seekerville by clicking HERE.

Sometimes I send the ms to my critique partners, but I’m finding more and more as I have deadlines, I don’t always have time to let my crit partners work on it before it is due. When I do have time, my two beloved Crit Partners rip up the ms and send it back so I can fix it.

The next step in the editing process has several names. It can be called the Content Edit, the Macro Edit, or the Edit-That-Produces-The-Most-Tears-And-Frustration. This is where major issues like character development, plot, pacing, and plausibility are discussed.

Sometimes a major rewrite is needed. This can be hard to swallow, especially since the manuscript has already been sweated over! It is important to remember that you and your editor have the same desire, you’re on the same team. You want to create the best book possible that will resonate with readers.

After you’ve turned in your Content edits and those have been approved, the manuscript goes to Copy Edit, also sometimes known as the Micro Edit. In this stage the editor is working on style, word usage, anachronistic language, punctuation, flow, clarity, etc. Some publishing houses also call this stage a Line Edit.

Once the Copy Edits are approved, the manuscript is proofread and ready to be typeset. At this point, you’ll receive a Galley Edit copy of the manuscript. This is your last chance to comb through the manuscript for typos, small errors, repetitive words, etc. This is not the time to decide to change your hero’s occupation or swap the setting of the story from New York to Topeka. Small changes only.

When you’ve made these changes, the book is ready to go to print. In all, the average manuscript goes through at least five edits before publication. Mine tend to go through about seven from start to finish.

How many edits does your manuscript go through? Are you a fan of the editing stage? What scares you the most about a publishing house edit?

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About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

6 thoughts on “Guest Author Erica Vetsch: Editorial Process From Manuscript To Publication

  1. Pat Trainum says:

    So glad you’re here, Erica! Thank you for a good look at what a ms goes through. I do like the edit process–to me it’s easier than the first draft (which is a lot like pulling teeth). I keep telling myself as I work on my 2nd book…”You can’t edit what you haven’t written.) lol Great post.

  2. Beverly Snyder says:

    Thanks, Erica for detailing this process. I especially liked your L-CARP list. I’m looking forward to your next books.

  3. Leanne Hardy says:

    I agree with Pat; I enjoy editing even when it is a major rethink. I want my book to be all it can be, and as you say, Erica, you can’t edit a blank page.

    Sorry I missed you at Minnesota Nice. A Bride’s Portrait sounds like a fun mix of mystery, romance and history (at least from the camera on the cover. There is no indication of time period in the blurb.)

  4. Michelle Lim says:

    Thanks everyone for stopping by to welcome Erica! Our Winner of the contest is…….Bev Synder!!!! Congratulations!

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