Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Release Day Guest Post with Livia Blackburne, Author of Midnight Thief (and GIVEAWAY!)

HELLO, EVERYONE! Welcome to my little release day promo for Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne! I'm sure you all have heard of this novel before! I've featured it several times already, as it's my most anticipated release of 2014!

And it did not disappoint! My review (five stars, yo!) is already posted, as is my review of Poison Dance (the prequel novella). Check out the awesome guest post I have with the fantastic author, Livia, and then enter to win swag!

Meet Livia!

Livia Blackburne on the editorial process for Midnight Thief and differences between the ARC and finished copy

“ATTENTION, READER: PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT A FINISHED BOOK.  If you quote from this galley, please indicate that your review is based on an uncorrected text.”

If you've spent any time at all with advance review copies, you're probably familiar with disclaimers like this. But what actually are the differences and changes that happen between the ARC and the finished copy? This will vary from house to house in book to book, but today I’ll share with you the changes that happened with MIDNIGHT THIEF.

Before we get there though, let's talk about the editorial process that led up to the Advance Review Copy. Up to this point, MIDNIGHT THIEF had gone through the following revisions.

1. Two rounds of revisions with my writing group brought the word count from 68,000 to 74,000 words. I worked out basic plot holes and rounded out a few characters.

2. Agent Querying!  Then one round of revision with my agent, bringing the manuscript now to 78,000 words. James, the leader of the Assassins Guild, became much more two dimensional, and the Demon Rider society was greatly fleshed out.

3. Book sold! Then two hefty rounds of revisions with my editors at Hyperion.  Major, major work on the world building here.  I added in legends and lore at this point, and the major plot twist received about 500% more foreshadowing (Me:  what do you mean I need more than 3 clues?). At the end of this revision, the book was in the high 90k range for word count.

4. One light round of line edits targeting sentence level issues.

5. One round of copy edits for punctuation, grammar, style, and consistency (Copyeditor: Does Flick dislike turnips or radishes?  Me:  Both!).  This was theoretically my last chance to make changes in the text, I could make changes after this if I have to, but they wouldn't make it into the ARCs.

6. Typesetting.  The book was put into a book format pdf file.

At this point, the ARC was sent off to be printed. For those curious about the timeline, this happened around August or September 2013, about nine or 10 months before the book's release.

So what happens after ARCs are made? These were the changes that happened.

1. More copyedits and proofreads! It's really amazing how many mistakes slip through the cracks, and how many mistakes are reintroduced at each step.

2. Formatting issues!  If you look at the ARC, you'll see facing pages where the bottom lines of text don't line up. That is fixed in the finished version. Also, cases of awkward formatting -- places where the same word is stacked on top of itself in neighboring lines or a proper noun was hyphenated between lines, I (or my editors) actually changed the wording to get rid of the formatting issue.

3. Things that fell through the cracks. In one case, someone calls Kyra a princess, and I changed it to “fine lady” because there aren't any royalty in Forge. In another case, I changed a very minor character’s (appears in one sentence) name from Jason to Alex so it would be less confusable with James, a major character in the same scene. In another case, I realized that I had accidentally cut the explanation for a strange occurrence  in an early scene and added it back in.

4. Changes in response to early reactions. POISON DANCE, the prequel novella to MIDNIGHT THIEF, came out at about the time the ARC went into production.  When the time came around for final changes before the finished version, I was already getting early reviews for POISON DANCE. I found out that many readers were really liking James, which both delighted me and made me nervous. Delighted because I love him too, but nervous as well, because James takes a decidedly darker turn in MIDNIGHT THIEF. So the final set of changes was to go back through MIDNIGHT THIEF and soften his character just a tiny bit and offer more explanation for his actions. We’re talking really subtle changes here, a different word here and there an added phrase or two.  Actually, most readers probably wouldn't even notice these changes, but it made me feel slightly better as a writer.

And that's about it! I hope this gives you some insight into the editorial process of MIDNIGHT THIEF!

About the novel:

Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
Book One of the Midnight Thief series
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: July 8, 2014

Summary (from Goodreads):

Growing up on Forge’s streets has taught Kyra how to stretch a coin. And when that’s not enough, her uncanny ability to scale walls and bypass guards helps her take what she needs.

But when the leader of the Assassins Guild offers Kyra a lucrative job, she hesitates. She knows how to get by on her own, and she’s not sure she wants to play by his rules. But he’s persistent—and darkly attractive—and Kyra can’t quite resist his pull.

Tristam of Brancel is a young Palace knight on a mission. After his best friend is brutally murdered by Demon Riders, a clan of vicious warriors who ride bloodthirsty wildcats, Tristam vows to take them down. But as his investigation deepens, he finds his efforts thwarted by a talented thief, one who sneaks past Palace defenses with uncanny ease.

When a fateful raid throws Kyra and Tristam together, the two enemies realize that their best chance at survival—and vengeance—might be to join forces. And as their loyalties are tested to the breaking point, they learn a startling secret about Kyra’s past that threatens to reshape both their lives.

About the prequel novella:

Poison Dance by Livia Blackburne
Book 0.5 of the Midnight Thief series
Publication Date: September 12, 2013

Summary (from Goodreads):

James is skilled, efficient, and deadly, a hired blade navigating the shifting alliances of a deteriorating Assassin’s Guild. Then he meets Thalia, an alluring but troubled dancing girl who offers him a way out—if he’ll help her kill a powerful nobleman. With the Guild falling apart, it just might be worth the risk. But when you live, breathe, and love in a world that’s forever flirting with death, the slightest misstep can be poison. 

***Poison Dance is FREE! Go get it! And check out my review, while you're here!***

The Giveaway:

Win Midnight Thief swag! USA only, sorry non-USA lovelies! Check out the Rafflecopter to terms, conditions. This giveaway begins on July 8th and ends on July 22nd (11:59 pm EST). Best of luck, everyone!


  1. It's so interesting learning more about the whole process for the ARCs and how long it then takes to get into finished book format!
    I'm hoping my preordered copy will get here soon! Hurry up mail, damn it!!

  2. I love learning about how the publishing process goes. How many edits a MS really goes through and all that. So cool! I can't wait to read this! I've read Poison dance and liked it.

  3. I WAS ALWAYS CURIOUS ABOUT THIS! Man that's a lot of work and it's always interesting to see how things change from step one to...I dunno tep 49000? ;P

  4. Its really interesting to see how authors edit differently and ive always liked reading the ARC and the finished product just to see what all they've changed. Thanks for the giveaway and the fun process story :D

  5. I always wondered what the editorial process was like once a publishing company picked up your book! Very cool! Thanks for hosting this interview! :)

    Amanda @ Of Spectacles and Books

  6. I really, really enjoyed reading about the editorial process! I think I'm more excited about that than I am about the swag, which shows what I geek I am. ;)

    Many thanks to Livia for the editorial breakdown and the swag! I'm so looking forward to this book!

    Also, on a completely unrelated side note: do you know anything about the Baltimore Book Festival?

  7. The editorial process sounds tiring, glad I'm not a writer. I think I'd have ulcers. Thanks Livia for the giveaway!

  8. Her editorial process sounds challenging yet rewarding. Thanks for the giveaway! So excited for her book!!

  9. I thought livia's editorial process sounds like alot of hard work. Congratulations on a job well done. I haven't read the book yet but would love to.

  10. Aw, yay :D Awesome guest post sweetie. <3 Thank you for sharing :) So glad you loved Midnight Thief. I'm excited to read it too. Just waiting for my copy to arrive ;p

  11. I don't tend to read editorial processes so this was really interesting!

  12. I love this! It's cool to know that opinions on Poison Dance made a difference in this one, and that she was able to make James at least slightly less dark in Midnight Thief. :) Great post Alyssa!!

  13. Oh wow, that's a long editing process! I knew that authors and editors/copy writers had to do tons of editing before the final copy, but I never realized exactly how much! I can't wait to read the Midnight Thief!

  14. Thanks for telling us about the editing process! It's so interesting to hear about. Can't wait to read Midnight Thief!

  15. Very interesting! I would love to read this book!!!


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