So, about a month ago, I turned in the "final" draft of An Import of Intrigue, though there are still several stages of copy editing and proofing before the actual finished book comes out, and that is still a ways away. Currently we're scheduled for November 2016. I know you're all eager for the continued adventures of the Maradaine Constabulary, and I'm eager to give them to you, but we all have to be patient. But the book is turned in, and the heavy lifting on my part is done.
At this point, I don't have the luxury of tweaking and fidgiting with the manuscript. Even with the long lead time now before Import comes out, I had a deadline and I think it's important to hit those. I'm not a superstar who can get away with the big gap between books, or at least, I don't have the large, dedicated fanbase who will be there no matter when the next book comes out. My business strategy has been: do good work, do it efficiently, and do it on time.
So, how do I go from a solid draft of a novel to final one turned in? How do I know I've got it done and I can send it off, not to worry about it anymore? (Or, you know, at least minimize the worry until the copyedits come and show me All The Mistakes.)
Once I've received edits on the polished draft from my editor, I print up a hard copy and read it, pen in hand. I make a lot of my own notes based on my editor's, and then I've got a copy of the manuscript that looks a lot like this:
A lot of these notes involve cleaning up sloppy phrasing, clarifying details and fixing minor continuity mistakes. Once I'm done with that, I go back into the master Scrivener document and implement the changes.
Once that's done, I really feel like anything further is fiddling out of fear rather than actual useful editing. I mean, yes, there might still be things that slipped past me, but more time spent with another reading pass is diminishing returns. Could there be something more I could do? I suppose, but I believe that perfect is the enemy of good. There reaches a point where you have to decide, "This is done, and I have to move forward."
And then go on to the next thing. Which is the third Thorn book, provisionally titled, The Imposters of Aventil.