krista.jpg[Editor’s note: Krista Richmond is the online engagement manager for United Way of Acadiana and the author of the soon-to-be published novel Spotlight. Join us each Monday for a glimpse at her journey from the first draft to the bookshelf and read the story behind the story.Spotlight’s official release date is May 22.]

I am an incredibly lucky girl.

There really is no other way to describe my experience with Spotlight.

You know those moments when you look around and think, “Wow … I have no idea what I did to deserve all of this, but I’m so very, very grateful for it.”? I’ve had many of those during the last few months.

So many things lined up for this book that I still sometimes feel the need to pinch myself. Certain events in my life provided inspiration when I needed it. And then I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a publishing company that was willing to take a chance on me. But I consider myself especially lucky to have met the editors I worked with.

Looking back, it seems funny to me that I was so terrified of the editing process. As a journalist, every single thing I’ve written has had at least one set (if not more) of eyes look over it. I’m used to the tweaks, word-smithing and corrections! But this was different. Spotlight was (and still very much is) me in 282 pages.

I was assigned a three-person editing team early in the process — a lead editor (who would be my liaison), a copy editor and a proofreader. Together, we’d go through three rounds of edits on the manuscript. Seems simple enough, but I was still apprehensive.

But my lead editor put me right at ease from our very first conversation because she truly got it. She understood what I was going for, and she had respect for the characters.

Did she have some concerns?

Naturally.

Did I have to make a lot of changes?

Of course.

But I felt completely comfortable because I knew that those changes and the concerns she raised would only make the end product that much better.

One of the things that made her so easy to work with is that she’d ask me why. It seems like such a simple thing, but so many editors wouldn’t take the time to do that. But if she had a question about something, she’d ask: “Why would Nate react that way?” Or, “Lily’s wording seems harsh here — was that what you meant for her to say?” Sometimes, she was right on the money, and I’d change it. Other times, my explanation was enough. But the fact that she asked meant a lot to me.

In some sense, I feel like we’ve been through battle together. It took months — and approximately 9,372 or so emails and Skype conversations — and I am so pleased with the final result.

Of course, publishing a book isn’t just about putting words on paper. It’s also about the “look” of the book. And that was perhaps even more of an adventure than writing the book itself …

Join us next week at theind.com for adventures in book cover concepts. And head here for Richmond's first blog in the journey of published her book. 

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