Working with an Editor, Guest Post

.Working with an Editor

Working with an Editor is one of the needed parts of getting your story read to publish.

Today we welcome Adi Alsaid, the author of Somewhere Over the Sun. He has graciously written a guest post for us about his experience working with editors on his novel. For those of you who are afraid to work with an editor or who don’t know what possible benefit an editor can give you in the preparation of your book, read on. :) Don’t forget to visit his website and check out his novel.

While writing my debut novel, Somewhere Over the Sun, I’d send an updated manuscript to my two personal editors every other week and wait for them to tear me apart. I looked forward to their scrutiny, appreciating the straightforwardness of their comments to “cut” and the sentences they highlighted and labeled simply “awk.” They were sometimes brutal, if they needed to be, and we all understood it was for the good of the novel (though I’m sure they had a little more fun on that end than I did). I think if there’s one thing to be thankful for as a writer, it’s the ability to not be offended when an editor writes into your margin, “Eww. Get rid of this.” Of course, those edits are easier to bear when just a few lines later the same editor, someone whose literary opinion I greatly trust, is swooning and demanding of me: “Do not change this part. Ever!”

Working with an Editor

I had the incredible fortune of having two brilliant ladies work with me as editors throughout the writing of my debut novel (one stopped having the time to give me detailed notes about halfway through, although her occasional tweets assured me that she was still reading, still holding me accountable for quality, and that a glass of wine perfectly accompanied my novel). The one who stopped is an old friend, an incredibly talented writer with the education and the knowhow to not only move my commas around and put a leash on my fragments, but someone who had no problems scoffing at my mediocrity or lauding my greatness.

Editor number two was a very new acquaintance at the time, someone whom I trusted with my manuscript because she obviously shared my passion and love for language, had an English degree from a well-respected university, had real-world publishing experience and big-six editorial aspirations, was obviously extremely intelligent and hard-working, and to be perfectly frank, she was someone I simply wanted to be around often, someone whose opinion of my writing, for whatever reason, mattered to me.

I am eternally grateful and indebted to both of them, my dear personal editors, for their insights, dedication, time, genuine care for my work and a billion other ways they helped make my novel better.

I could have just powered through the first draft, then sent it off to them and wait for the notes before continuing on with re-writes. But receiving their notes throughout the writing process helped me improve parts of the novel that had yet to be written. Thanks to them, I was rewriting before my words even showed up on the computer screen, I was holding myself up to a higher standard before even sending them anything to correct. Kurt Vonnegut once made a distinction between two kinds of writers: “Swoopers write a story quickly…then they go over it again painstakingly, fixing everything that is just plain awful or doesn’t work. Bashers go one sentence at a time, getting it exactly right before they go on to the next one.” I was a basher, and they were the safety net of a future that swoopers rely on. If I let something slip that was not good enough, I was confident that the next set of notes from them would include the comment, “tighten” and remind me to not be vague.

The beauty of working with an editor.

After three months, I had completed my first draft. I took a two-day break then I re-wrote for several hours every single day for a month straight, clicking back and forth between editors’ notes and the chapter-by-chapter run down of strengths and weaknesses. I went through every single comment, sometimes being a stubborn artist and ignoring a minor suggestion or three, but more often than not, I placed my trust in their judgment, and there is no doubt in my mind that my novel is better off for it.
Proof of that is the last round of editing my novel received. When asked if a copy edit was not enough and a more thorough revision of the manuscript was required, the freelance editor hired by the self-publishing company I used replied: “…I wanted to keep reading and I was laughing and wrapped up in the storyline instead of noticing any glaring editorial needs.”
I’m incredibly proud of what I’ve accomplished in Somewhere Over the Sun and I think that is a testament not necessarily just to my novel, but also to the painstaking, passionate and knowledgeable contributions of my editors, without whom my book would, quite simply, not be as good.

Author Bio

Adi Alsaid graduated from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with a degree in Marketing, but spent the majority of his time there reading and writing fiction. Somewhere Over the Sun is his debut novel and was written in Monterey, CA. He was born and raised in Mexico City to Israeli parents whose love and support made this book possible. Adi is usually unsure of how long he will remain at any given address, but chances are he is living somewhere in the northwestern hemisphere. He hopes this book brings his readers even a sentence’s worth of happiness.

About the Novel

The story follows Alan, a spirited young writer with a wandering imagination who has discovered that the stories he writes are suddenly coming to life. At the suggestion of his loving father, Alan embarks on a quixotic journey to visit friends and use his newfound gift to write them all happier lives.

Author website: www.somewhereoverthesun.com
Twitter: twitter.com/adialsaid
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Adi-Alsaid-author-of-Somewhere-Over-the-Sun/117746478273611

Working with an editor should be on the top of your to-do list

Off to the Fair

editingToday my dear hubby and I will be at the Lane County Fair from 11 to 5 PST with a bunch of other authors signing books (if you’re in the neighborhood, drop by and get a copy of Titanic Deception), and you can bet they all know the worth of a good edit!

While I’ll miss being away from my desk today, I know it will be here when I get back. And yes, I’m taking some hard copy to edit during the slow times to keep me busy. What?

Getting to the Point: Editing

Anyway, my point is that editing is important to every book. Whether you’re promoting it at the fair, on Amazon, or in your local bookstore, your readers expect it to be the best it can be in every way. They’re the ones plunking down their hard-earned  cash for it. How do you feel when you buy a book and it’s full of misspelled words, incorrectly used words, or the story falls flat because there’s a big fat plot hole you could drive a truck through? Exactly. So don’t give that to your readers! You know it drives you nuts. And even if it doesn’t… even if you’re one of those rare, mythical readers we all fantasize about that loves everything they read, there’s a lot of readers who don’t have any qualms about ripping an author to shreds over every editorial mistake. Don’t believe me? I randomly picked books on Amazon by searching genres and looked at one star reviews. Check out these quotes:

This book was awful. First there was the multitude of grammatical errors and misspelled words which makes me wonder if there was even an editing process at all for the book.

Unbelievable: illiterate, gruesomely unrealistic, with inconsistencies on every page – how could this piece of work ever have been published? Was it even read by an editor?

Interesting enough story but the typographical and grammar mistakes were too numerous to enjoy the story.

As you can see, readers aren’t shy about expressing their feelings. Don’t let this be said of your story.

(We’ll also be at the fair on Friday, July 26 from 3-9 and on Saturday, July 27 from 5-9. If you need to get in touch with me, please use the contact form here on the site and I’ll be checking emails again as soon as I get home.)

Investing in Your Book

invest in your bookI urge you to invest in your book.

What does that mean? It means a lot of things.

First, you need to invest the time to do it right. Take your time writing and researching your book. Revise it. Get feedback. Are there holes in your plotline? If so, fix them! Are your characters flat? Fill them out! A rough draft isn’t enough.

Get it edited. Allow enough time for a good edit, don’t expect 150,000 words to be done overnight. Give your editor the time to go through it carefully. Rush jobs usually result in something being missed because they were rushed. Can you do your best work when you’re in a rush? Schedule enough time in your production timetable to allow for a proper edit. Then add a little bit more for bumps in the road, like an unplanned for revision, or a family emergency. It’s better to be ready ahead of time than to be squeezed for time at the end.

Proofread it. After you, your editor, and your trusted beta readers have all read it, get someone else to go over it for errors. If you can afford it, pay a professional. Trust me, even after all those others have gone over it, there will still be some errors. No one is perfect enough to catch everything. Could you? If you were given a 50,000 word manuscript, could you catch every single error? Especially if the author wanted it in a week or two? That’s why the more sets of eyes you have go over your book, the better. And spell check doesn’t catch everything, either. It doesn’t know the difference between there, their and they’re. Or to and too. Or rein and reign. Or wait and weight. Or right and write. All it knows is if they’re spelled correctly.

Get a good cover design. If you don’t know the first thing about designing a cover that looks good, find someone who does. It’s worth the money to have one that catches the eye. People do judge a book by its cover, whatever they may say.

Your book represents you. This is your product that you want people to buy. Putting a substandard book out there can create a reputation that will follow you no matter how much work you put into later publications. Today’s readers aren’t shy about complaining in a review about shoddy writing or editing (or lack thereof). If you fix your book later, those reviews are still there. Those readers have already told their friends and the damage has been done.

I know I harp about this repeatedly here, but I can’t emphasize this enough. As an author, your book is you. Do you want to go out in public with a big smudge on your face? Of course not! So why let your book do the same? Yes, editing and a good cover can cost a lot of money, depending on who you hire and the length of your book. But isn’t your book worth some scrimping? Isn’t your reputation as an author worth it? Many editors, like me, offer payment plans. Payment plans, however, don’t work well if you’re on a quick deadline (just another reason to plan well for your production time). We also offer a discount for payment in full, so there are multiple ways to save some money on editing services. So invest in your book, both with time and money if possible.

You want to put your best book forward.

Get Thee to an Editor

get thee to an editorPesky errors got you down? Tired of hearing you’re using ‘reign’ instead of ‘rein’? Does trying to figure out the difference between the two leave your head in a tizzy? Get thee to an editor.

Do you love the word ‘that’? Do you capitalize your dialogue tags and don’t know why? Get thee to an editor.

Got a hole in your plot big enough for a Mac truck? Are your scenes lacking panache? Are your descriptions falling flat? Get thee to an editor.

When you’ve done all you can on your own, it’s time to get some help. Go ahead and send your baby out to your beta readers… they can give you some good advice. They may not all agree, however, and you’ll need to pick and choose what will work and what won’t. Still, when you’re done reworking the story for the tenth or hundredth time… it’s good to have eyes on it that know what to look for.

What can a professional editor do?

  • Help you find the glaring issues in your story
  • Fix timeline problems others may have missed
  • Get rid of the annoying errors readers will be sure to mention in their reviews
  • Tighten your writing
  • Polish that manuscript and make it shine
  • Make you look good

Doesn’t that sound worth it? Especially that last one. Your book is your baby. You’re putting it out there for the world to see. You want it looking all pretty and clean, not all messy, right?

And what does the editor get out of it? The satisfaction of helping an author and some money to pay the bills. Do we like it when we’re mentioned in the acknowledgements? Sure. We appreciate your thanks. Do we demand it? No. We’re happy even if you don’t mention us in public. We’re happy because we were able to help you get your book ready for the public. That’s what makes us tick. What makes us get up in the morning. We don’t necessarily need the accolades. We just like what we do.

So if we like it so much, why don’t we do it for free?

Well, sometimes we do. Most of the time, however, we need to pay bills. We need to feed the kids, just like you. Editors understand that it’s hard to spread the money around sometimes. We have the same problems. It comes down to what’s important. If someone wants to go on a vacation, they’ll save up for it. If they want Prada shoes, they’ll save up for them. If they want a 125 gallon fish tank, they’ll save up for it. If they want editing, they’ll save up for it (or take advantage of a payment plan). Whatever becomes important, we find the means to do. Is your book important? Then you should do what you can to present it in the best way possible. This includes good editing and a good cover.  Can just anyone edit or do a cover? No. Some do not possess the skills to do these things. Some are not the right fit for each author. But when you find that fit, it’s worth the price.

OMG–I Can’t Stress This Enough

I’ve written on the topic of the importance of editing before, but OMG guys, it really is.

I love indie authors, I really do. Heck, I’m one myself. Some of my best online friends are, too. Some of what I’m hearing from indie authors is alarming. I’m hearing that editing is a luxury, an expense they can do without. Yes, it can be expensive. I’m sorry about that, but if you tell me that How to Train Your Catfish in Three Easy Lessons is 175,000 words long–well, I know you want to hear it’s only going to cost you $50, but any manuscript that long is going to cost you some bucks. Editing carefully, I can average about 1,250 words an hour, assuming I’m not spending that hour answering your emails asking why I haven’t finished your book yet or what did I think of the chapter on earning your catfish’s trust. I’m not saying you can’t ask questions… I encourage you to do so. This is a working partnership on your book. But back to our make believe scenario. So your 175,000 word manuscript on training catfish is going to take about 140 hours of my time. I wish I could do it for free (if I were rich, I would… I enjoy it that much!).  So why should you pay this *luxury tax*?

Case in point: Step into my time machine and we’re going to travel back several years. At this point in time I was doing reviews of birth-related books. (Cue spooky time travel music.) Ah. Here’s one. Take a look at this. Not only is the text so riddled with errors that it gets in the way of their wonderful message, but their formatting for the book was way off. The title page was actually on the left side! It made me wonder if they’d ever even seen a book before. Needless to say, all the money they spent printing all those copies was wasted. I couldn’t review it… there was nothing good I could say about the book. I contacted the author privately and suggested nicely that she get an editor to go through the book and then a book designer to set it up properly. I never heard back from her so I don’t know if she did or not.

As I said at the beginning, I love indie authors. I want them to succeed. However, it’s getting to the point that I hesitate to buy ebooks unless I’m already familiar with the author. I don’t want to waste my hard-earned cash on a book that may be full of errors. Before I push that Buy button, I wonder if they had the book edited. Will it be full of errors? I read books full of errors for a living… I don’t want to do it in my pleasure reading. If I find the first chapter full of mistakes, I don’t read the rest of the book, no matter how good the story was. I know I’m not alone in this.

A lot of readers are returning their ebooks for errors or complaining to Amazon, who then reports the errors to the authors for fixing. Amazon will report a few of them, then recommend to the author to check for more. If you get an email like this from Amazon, will you follow up and fix them? Will you look for more? Do you even know what to look for since you let them go through the first time? This means spending time going through your book again and then re-publishing.

Some of those readers will go so far as to write a review criticizing your editing errors for all the world to see and giving you a low rating for them. This brings down your overall rating. Even if you do find every error and fix them later, those reviews will still be there for other potential readers to see. I’m currently editing a book that had this problem. Yes, the errors will be fixed, but the old reviews will still color the perception of the improved book once it’s done.

Others will request their money back, and Amazon cheerfully refunds it, taking it out of your royalties each time a reader does this for the life of your book. Still think skipping the editing was a good idea?

Do it right the first time and hire an editor. Most of us are willing to work with our clients. I offer a payment plan… I’m sure many other editors do as well. I even offer a discount to those who can pay in full. I love books. I always have, ever since I learned that when letters are put together to form words they could tell a story. I got into this business to help authors make their books the best they could be. When the spotlight is on you, I want you to shine.

Do You Really Need an Edit?

The answer is, of course, a resounding YES. And I’m not just saying that because I’m an editor.

Let’s explore this a little bit.

Your book represents you. You want people to buy it, and subsequently, any future books you write. Would you present yourself at a book signing in wrinkled clothing with splotches of last night’s dinner down the front? Of course not. So why present your book that way?

Your book is your baby. You’ve labored over it for months, maybe years. (Okay, maybe weeks if you’re one of those super fast wordsmiths who spew words like volcanoes spew lava.) Would you show your baby off in public with an aromatic poopy diaper and baby spit all over his/her onesie? Of course not. So why present your book that way?

You hope your book will garner you lots of fans that will follow you over hill, over dale, thorough brush, thorough brier, over park, over pale, thorough flood, thorough fire… okay, maybe not that far (thanks, Shakespeare), but you want those fans to wait impatiently for your next book. NEWSFLASH: They won’t if your book is full of errors.

I can see you shaking your head over there. Not you, right? That only happens to other authors.

C’mon. Sit down. Have a cup of tea.

Errors happen. As the author, you can’t always see the errors because you’re too close to it. It’s true. I write, and I don’t edit my own writing. I hand it off to someone else because I’m too close. Sure, I can find some of them. Most of them, even. But my brain makes me see what I expect to see there, not those pesky little errors that a fresh pair of eyes will catch in a nanosecond. And it’s not just typos. Are you sure you paid attention to every detail? Is your timeline right through your entire book? Or did you miss a detail here and there? Did Anne leave her hometown a month ago in chapter one and two months ago in chapter 18? Are Brian’s eyes blue on page 25 and brown on page 231?

Before you jump in and say that readers won’t care… they will. Sure, not every one of them will do anything about it, but some will ask for refunds. Ouch! Right in the pocketbook. Worse, some will write reviews. Lack of editing seems to be fair game for reviewers on Amazon. Don’t give them the fodder. Isn’t it hard enough to compete with the zillions of books out there without giving them reasons not to buy your book?

Seriously, are you willing to put your first impression on the line? Are you willing to get bad reviews due to something that was preventable, like editing? Is it worth the risk? Ultimately, this is a decision only you can make, but is it really necessary? You’ve invested the time in your book. You’ve invested something in the cover. You’re not going to invest in the rest of the package?

I understand budgets and the need to cut costs. But was it worth cutting the cost of editing if you don’t sell any books because readers are returning them and complaining about the editing (or lack thereof) in the reviews? I guess that’s up to you. But don’t you want to put your best book forward?

Editors Are Vital — Guest Post

Today’s post is by another client of mine, Shane Scollins. Shane is the author of Legacy Rising, The Game, and several other thrilling reads. If you haven’t read any of his books yet, you should pick one up.

By Shane Scollins

Writing a book is a solitary undertaking. As writers, we live inside our heads, listening to voices, and becoming random and often insane characters. We put a lot of time and effort into creating worlds and plots and all the things that make a great story. But without a good editorial eye, the story won’t be worth the broken keys on our laptops.

Editors are a vital cog in the gears of the novel creation machine. They are a key link between creating a story, and getting a polished book to the public. We want to believe we are good enough to get by without an editor. After all, today’s software programs are good enough to catch most basic mistakes. However, the reality is that no matter how good we think we are, and no matter how good we really are, there is no substitute for the second or third pair of eyes of another human. We need help from someone who can be both clinical and creative to help hammer our story into form. That’s exactly what an editor does.

A great editor can be the difference maker, because let’s face it, we can’t always be objective when it comes to our own work. We are simply too close to it. It’s not a matter of being a good (or bad) writer, it’s a matter of being an author. We all make mistakes and we all need the help of a professional editor. I’m a firm believer that producing a book is a team effort and the editor is an essential part of that.

I’ve heard a lot of writers express great dread over editing process. I have to say that I’ve never really been one of them. For the most part, I’ve had positive experiences with editors. Of course, I’m not one of those writers married to every word I write. There have been very few times when an editor suggested something that I disagreed with. I can usually see their point, and if not, I usually defer to them anyway because I’ve learned the wisdom of detaching my emotion from the process.

As writers, we want to protect everything we write. We want to believe that every word is vital to the story. But that’s not always the case. Readers are not always going to notice everything we do, they often gravitate to parts of the story we never intended them to become invested in. That’s what makes an editor so important. There are going to be parts of our stories that we may not be as fanatical about, but that readers will notice. The editorial process will ferret out all those nuances that only readers will discern.

If you are one of those writers that balls up with anxiety over the editing process, try not to worry. You’ll get through it. No matter if you’re working with the same editor, or a new editor, the key word is working. Writing is a job, and not every part of a job is going to be easy. Sometimes you’re going to have to default to another part of your team and give up some control for the sake of a good story. If you treat the editing process as just another aspect of your job, it won’t be nearly as stressful. Editors are not out to make your life miserable, they’re trying to make your story the best it can be. It’s never personal.

Remember, it’s the story that matters to you, and If you want the story to matter to the readers, work with a professional editor. Your readers will thank you.

Shane Scollins is a freelance writer and Amazon best selling author. Originally from New Jersey, he now resides in Upstate New York with his wife, Heather. He has a degree in computer science and has worked as an automotive service manager, a website developer, and a computer network engineer. In his spare time he enjoys playing ice hockey, riding his mountain bike, and strumming on his guitar. Primarily a SciFi and paranormal novelist, Shane enjoys taking readers on surprising and unexpected journeys that twist reality. He is currently working on his next book.

You can find out more about Shane at his website, http://www.shanescollins.com/

Selling Yourself Short

The other day, I got into a discussion with someone about why authors might skip the editing process before publishing. Now, I didn’t know this guy, and I’m sure he’s a perfectly great guy. I don’t hold anything against him. We had a lively debate on the topic.

In my own experience, I’ve picked up a few ebooks on free days that I’ve put down just as quickly when I discovered that they were filled with basic errors. I’ll be honest… I edit for a living. That means I spend my life reading unedited writing, so I’m extremely choosy about what I read during my limited time for leisure reading. The occasional editorial flub is no big deal, it happens in every book, even those put out by the Big Six publishers. But I can tell the difference between the occasional editorial flub and an unedited manuscript. Remember Elaine from Seinfeld testing her dates to see if they were sponge-worthy? Well, unedited books are not time-worthy.

Anyway, back to my discussion. My worthy opponent brought up cost. He said editing costs a minimum of $1500. I know writers are notoriously poor. I’m an editor and I’m notoriously poor. I get it. Money can be hard to come by. There’s a reason they say it doesn’t grow on trees, because if it did, we’d all be horticulturalists. As I told him, not all of us editors charge an arm and a leg. Some of us softies even offer payment plans and bend over backwards to work within budgets. Why? Because we all have families to support. You gotta feed your kids, I gotta feed mine (and boy, it seems they eat more every year, doesn’t it?). I can’t speak for every editor out there, but this is why I work with several clients at one time… to keep my prices as low as I can. My rent won’t get any lower, but hey, I can spread my costs out to make it easier on my clients, right? So, authors… you may think we charge a lot at first glance, but we’re also having to use our fees to not only run our business, but to pay all those pesky bills that you have to pay at your house. It seems as soon as one month starts, it’s over and the cycle begins all over again. I’m sure you feel the same way. So, I do what I can to keep it reasonable, including a big discount for payment in full upfront. If you can afford it, you don’t have to worry about making payments, I don’t have to worry about sending reminders, you save money, it’s all good.

He suggested that most people don’t press the quality issue when I suggested that you can’t redo a first impression, and maybe that’s true. But they won’t buy book two, either. Putting out a second poorly done book won’t help you sell more books. While some may ask the seller for a refund, others won’t. When authors are signing petitions to convince Amazon not to refund ebooks after seven days (and part of me doesn’t blame them… you can read any ebook in seven days and return it, quality or not) the issue over quality becomes clouded. Was the book returned because the final quality was not up to par or because the reader knew they could get their money back, no questions asked?

Now, Amazon does have certain standards in place, but many of them don’t kick in unless complaints are made by readers. How many readers know how to make these complaints? How many readers actually write reviews? There’s the rub. Without the extra layer of an editor, how do these errors get expunged from the book?

To take it a step further, how do you know you have a competent editor? If you don’t know other authors who can recommend one for you, how do you know you don’t have one who isn’t an author just like yourself who decided they’d hang out an editorial shingle to earn a few bucks?

These are good questions. First, ask your author friends. They may have worked with an editor they liked. Second, (blatant self-promotion) you could hire me. :) Third, you can go to an editorial association like the Editorial Freelancers Association and peruse their members. If you go that route, make sure and look for editors who work on fiction. Fiction and non-fiction are two different animals, and not every editor is familiar with both. Not every good editor is a member of associations like this (not all of us can afford it yet), but you can bet that you can avoid the bad ones by going there.

If you’re not sure about an editor, look at their client testimonials. Ask them if they’re willing to edit a few pages for free as a sample of their work. When you send a sample, pick a few of your worst pages so you can make a fair assessment. If you’re testing more than one editor, send them the same pages so you can compare. Cheaper isn’t always the best choice, just like the most expensive isn’t always the best choice.

So, don’t sell yourself short. Put out the best book you can. Don’t skimp on the editing. You want a book as close to error-free as you can make it. You want your story as tight as it can be. You want it to be a pleasure to read, not something someone puts down after a few paragraphs.

Awesome

Today’s post is by a client of mine, Hally Willmott. Hally is the author of Awakenings, soon to be published by Limitless Publishing. I thank her profusely for her praise… it’s very good for my ego. :)

 

As a newly signed author for Limitless Publishing, I can say that my road to being signed wasn’t an easy one.  What I found easy was writing—creating and reading. What I found hard and sometimes frustrating was editing! I’ve referred to editing as my new four letter word—originally not in the good sense of a four letter word either.

Once Limitless set me up with Toni, and I was given the opportunity to see how a true professional works with an author, my thoughts and opinions on editing have changed drastically.

It’s like she’s in my head—she has an uncanny ability to edit my writing the way I would have written it originally—that is if my grammar and punctuation weren’t horrendous. I always feared and loathed doing edits because I found them to be a pain in the butt. But, with Toni—she is concise, thorough, and bang on. She makes it easy for me.

Her services have made it so I look forward to the edited pages she sends. She is professional, accurate and most of all, she tightens up my work so the flow is amazing. She is awesome!

 

To find out more about Hally, check out the following links:

http://www.limitlesspublishing.com

Editing for Publication – Guest Post

Today we are lucky to be hosting a guest post by author Liz Borino. (Loud applause.) She has two books published now. She also edits and does publicity for other authors. See the links at the bottom of this post to get your hands on her books.

Thank you for having me here today, Toni. I’m a two time author published by Lazy Day, a digital first publishing company. I’m here to impart a little secret on you: the writing life doesn’t get (much) easier once you have that publishing contact. Yes, there’s no more stress about querying. I have to ask, does anyone enjoy doing that, if so, please tell me in the comments. Even without that stress, there’s something you might not have thought of: editing. Now, I expect one of two reactions: a.) “But I’ve already edited! It’s perfect!” or b.) “Isn’t that what editors are for?”

To the former group, your baby isn’t perfect, I’m sorry to tell you. It’s good, it may even be great, but it’s not perfect. You know what’s funny about that? It won’t be perfect even when it’s published. Ask Toni, she’s going over my first book, Expectations, six months after publication. Before it even gets to publication, though, there will be at least two editing stages. Once the publisher acquires your manuscript their editors do ‘revision suggestions.’ These are the ‘big’ things which need to be corrected: character inconsistencies, plot holes, and scenes which can be deleted, to name a few.

Here’s one more, the one I struggled with, point of view. See, Expectations and What Money Can’t Buy are both told in third person omniscient POV. For non-writers, if they’d even be reading this, that means you’re in every character’s head constantly. Lazy Day said it was hard to follow in What Money Can’t Buy. They wanted me to only be in one character’s head in each scene. I’m going to be honest with you, that was hard for me to take. I learned a lot from writing and editing Expectations and I believed, even in my first draft, What Money Can’t Buy showed that. Lazy Day and I ended up coming to a compromise with the POV issue because I couldn’t limit to one character per scene. It just wouldn’t work with the book. A good publisher will listen to you and respect your opinion, if you feel strongly enough. And Lazy Day is great about that. However, it’s just as important for you, the author, to get off the ‘my story is perfect’ stick.

And to the group who chose option b? No. I’d say more, but as an editor, the thought of that group makes me want to reach through the computer let loose with a curling iron.

Expectations Amazon: http://amzn.to/fxC2Tf
B&N: http://bit.ly/e7mwDj
Fan page: http://on.fb.me/cw3IqE