Monday, July 6, 2015

Working with an Editor + July Question of the Month


When you get a publishing contract you will find that your editor is your new best friend. You will work closely with your editor to perfect your book and you will go to your editor with concerns and questions. You have to be able to trust your editor, and they have to be able to trust you. This is very much a relationship, but please don’t tell him/her about your bad date...keep it professional and all conversation geared toward your book.

What should you expect?

Well, after you sign your contract, your editor will review your manuscript and send it back to your with their edits. This is always a moment full of anxiety. I can’t even begin to tell you how much my heart races when I see that email sitting in my inbox, but I remind myself that my book is good. After all, it’s being published. And that the editor’s job is to help me iron out any wrinkles to make it shine.

When you open the document you’ll most likely see a lot of Track Changes where the editor cut out words, fixed spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. You’ll also see comments on the side. These comments can be on anything. Some editors stick strictly to pointing out the things that need to be fixed such as awkward phrasing or point-of-view issues, while others like to highlight things they liked.

Image from Pixabay

Try not to panic when you see all the markings. Tell yourself that once you address the editor’s concerns, you’ll have a far more beautiful manuscript than you started out with. Then take a deep breath and begin with the first comment or change.

But what if you think you editor is wrong?

Never start a fight! Calmly tell your editor how you feel and politely ask him/her to explain their suggestion so you can understand. Maybe the two of you can work together to find a path you’ll both be satisfied with.
TIP: Reading through your manuscript during each round is a must as many sentences will be altered by your editor, and you may have to fix some scenes.
Editing with your editor usually involves three or more rounds until the book is set into a galley. Even when you get that galley, though, you still have to review it closely to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

Whatever you do, always be respectful! When that final galley is sent to your publisher, thank your editor for their time and help. He/she will appreciate it. Thanking them in your dedications/acknowledgements is also a nice gesture.
See: Dedications and Acknowledgements

QUESTION: What’s been your experience with editors?


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To join this monthly blog hop visit Michael G D'Agostino's blog.

July Question of the Month:

QUESTION: What are three things that you'd do tomorrow if you weren't blocked by fear?

1. Get a beta reader for the first book in my unpublished supernatural-thriller series. This is the story featuring Avrianna Heavenborn (from Ghost of Death). I first created her when I was twelve and rewrote her series at seventeen. I’ve been perfecting her first book ever since. I am SUPER protective of it and afraid a beta would hate it or suggest I change everything, so I haven’t had a single beta look at it. It’s hard to explain how I feel.

2. Drive a car. I’ve been terrified of driving for a very long time, which is another fear that people don’t understand. Let’s just leave it at that.

3. Sign myself up for an online dating service. Wow. That’s personal, huh? Well, with my writing career and solitude life, I don’t get out much to meet people. One day, I’ll have to get the guts to join a dating service. At least to see what happens....


That's all for now!


77 comments:

  1. Great post. Definitely have to keep in mind for the future. And as for the 3 things I do tomorrow if I weren't blocked by fear:
    1) tell people that I'm also a writer when I'm asked what I do for a living
    2) drive a car. I don't care what people say, it's not easy. And then there the crazy drivers on the road too
    3) start looking for beta readers earlyrics because I might hem and haw later

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    1. Thank you, Lidy! I am so glad that there is someone else out there with my same fear of driving.

      Delete
  2. I've enjoyed working with my publisher's editor. Actually, there are edits from two different people depending on what stage the book is at and at least three revisions total.
    Online dating sounds scary...

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    1. You're lucky to get edits from two different people.

      Hence my fear. lol

      Delete
  3. I've only had one editor who was really difficult to work with. She wanted to change verbs that would actually change the meaning of a sentence.
    My mother-in-law never learned to drive. I only know one person who used a dating service and it was a good thing though she eventually met her husband through friends.
    Susan Says

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    1. That is strange! I've never had an editor want to change verbs.

      That's nice to hear, Susan. :)

      Delete
  4. I think the best editor is respectful of the writer and takes a hands-off approach when it comes to radical changes. The voice and story contents should be respected, and the editor should keep track of whether everything makes sense, s/he understands character motivations, that sort of thing. I'd hate to deal with an editor who wanted to radically change everything and essentially rewrite an entire book the way someone else saw fit.

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    1. That would be the best editor, Carrie-Anne.

      Delete
  5. I've not had the best of luck with editor or beta readers. I assumed it was me for the longest time, but I opened up and share some of my communications with others and it turns out that I just keep working with the wrong people.
    I get the car thing. I was afraid to drive after an accident a few years back, but then I had to go to work and couldn't get a ride. I still don't like it, but I do it. If I could avoid it, I would.
    Dating was never something I enjoyed. I wasn't bad at it, I just didn't like the formalities and games. The guy I married was a friend. It worked out. I know a few people who use dating services. For some people it's no good, but for others it's just what the doctor ordered.

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    1. If you have to find an editor or beta readers yourself, it can be tough. My editor comes with my publisher. But for beta readers I like to ask the people I respect. Those writers who I admire.

      I wonder how it would be for me....no good or just what the doctor ordered. :)

      Delete
  6. I really enjoyed reading this information on editors. I've only had beta readers from critique groups look at my stuff along with some short editing suggestions from the editor that publishes my short story. I would love to work with someone professional on a novel.

    As for driving--I like it. In fact, I do all the driving when my family goes anywhere because my husband tends to flap his gums and forget to press the gas pedal when he drives. He teases me about being a speed-demon but, knock on wood, I've never gotten a ticket.

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    1. It is a different experience working with a professional editor. It's nerve-whacking but amazing too.

      Haha! Can you be my chauffeur? :P

      Delete
  7. Not to discourage you, but my sister is just now going through a divorce from a guy she met through online dating. Be careful!

    Lee
    Tossing It Out

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  8. I think I have an irrational fear of editors. I just worry that they'll edit my manuscript so much that the voice I created will disappear.
    I know if I was single I would do online dating because going out in the world terrifies me!

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    1. That is a fear many people have. But a good editor will only suggest changes that'll make the story better. And if they agree to edit it, that should mean that they like your voice and the overall story.

      I have that same fear, which is why I'm thinking of online dating.

      Delete
  9. Thanks to you Chrys I started a Twitter account! I still haven't tweeted, but at least I can follow along like I do on G+.
    I don't know what I would do if I weren't blocked by fear.
    My wife was a Nurse on a floor in the County hospital that got all the Trauma patients that were in car wrecks. She to this day hates to drive, because of what she has seen.

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    1. I saw that you joined Twitter! I actually got a notification that someone in my contacts recently joined. I'm glad that I helped you to make the plunge.

      See? My fear isn't stupid after all. Even as a passenger I sometimes panic.

      Delete
  10. Great post! I haven't used an editor (yet), but I'm seriously considering it for my future work - the only thing that stopped me this time was money. I love driving - I have to drive from where I live to back up north to visit my parents and thats a 6+ hour trip, so I had to get used to motorway driving pretty quickly! I do enjoy it, I just hate traffic.

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    1. I've never had to pay an editor to look at my work because my editor is with my publisher. But with that first book in my series that I mentioned, I might have to.

      Delete
  11. Most of the time I like driving. It can be a great time to figure out how to fix a problem manuscript... I do not enjoy driving in big cities, though.

    And seeing those edits show up in your inbox is stressful!

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    1. Driving in big cities is the worst!

      Delete
  12. Editing process sure can take a while, always something seems to get missed.

    I got a profile on online dating, just so I can look at profiles and do my dating blog posts lol but you never know, I don't get out much either.

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    1. Oh yes. That's why I always read every round because I'll always find something that was (somehow) missed.

      LOL! Only you would join an online dating service to writing funny blog posts. :P

      Delete
  13. Even when I start to disagree with my editor, I give it a second thought and try to find out why. She's usually right. I just hadn't seen it through her eyes.

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    1. Our editors are smart. At first, I may be mad about a suggested change, but after some thought I realize my editor's suggestion is spot on.

      Delete
  14. I always enjoy working with the editors I have. At first, I'm nervous and scared, but once I get over that and open their notes, I enjoy the way they make me think and help me improve the story.

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    1. Editors are awesome! I don't know what I would do without mine.

      Delete
  15. I love the online dating idea!! Just be safe with it and there shouldn't be too much to fear. And, if you have any questions, ask! I've been on a few in the past. :)

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    1. Thanks, Jax! I really appreciate that. :)

      Delete
  16. Insightful as always, Chrys! I too, I have a first-born :-) I've revised it a ton of times and haven't yet mustered the bravado to send it to another editor after the first one said I should shelve it for a few years (ack!). I wonder if twelve is enough?
    If and when you learn to drive, start with a golf cart or something manageable - and not in traffic. I practiced in a riverbed.
    My niece has an e-harmony hubby. She's seemed quite happy for the last several years. You have to set your preferences with on-line dating, so it's better if you have an idea of what/who you're hoping to find.
    Happy writing!

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    1. That's sad that an editor told you to shelve it for a few years. They really shouldn't say that. They should offer advice on how to make it better, but not to discourage you or make you not touch it for so long.

      Oh, I can drive a golf cart. I can also drive bumper cars and those race cars in Andretti, but I just can't drive a real car. The other drivers on the road scare the crap out of me!

      Aw! That's so sweet. I'm happy for your niece. I do have ideas of the things I am looking for and not looking for.

      Thanks for your comment. :)

      Delete
    2. Hi diedre - I just wanted to say that was a horrible thing for your editor to say. An editor's job is to help writers improve their stories, not discourage them. I hope you find a better one when you take it out again! All the best to you. :)

      Delete
    3. Thank you, Doorwaybetweenworlds! (love that, by the way) It was a bit crushing, I didn't even write so much as a poem for nearly a year after that. Then I quit sniveling and got back after it! ;-)
      Surprise, Chrys! You can indeed drive, you just don't know it yet -ha! Just don't pick up any sorry guys :-)

      Delete
    4. Knowing how to drive isn't the problem. lol The act of driving a car is. I panic. Other drivers scare the bajeezus out of me!

      Delete
  17. Not a big fan of driving. I was better at it, more at ease with it - braver?! - when I was younger. But that was back before cell phones and texting and such - it feels like the roads are so crazy now, way more than they used to be. But that might just be me.

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    1. The roads are crazy nowadays. People are distracted, they speed, cut in and out of traffic. Drivers are nuts!

      Delete
  18. There is a top-tier peer-review journal in which I had long hoped to be published. The editor had suggested some suggestions before he sent it out to be peer reviewed (three scholars in the same field review it). I made the reviews, then it went out to be reviewed and there were some other suggestions and I was involved in a move (and told the editor). About a year later, I made some modification and because a new book had been published that related to the top, did some edits and sent it back in, but the editor had changed and the new guy wanted all these additional changes. I was sick of it and called an editor of another journal (that was respectable but not as prestigious as the first). He was delighted to have a shot at it--he "rushed" their peer review and published it in two issues later.

    Wow, that was a long response and one that brought back some pain.

    As for your goals--go for it. Yeah, learn to drive (summer is a good time to do this in Florida, I would think) and get out and meet people!

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    1. I can understand the pain of having to go through edits like that time and time again only to not get the end result that you wanted. It does hurt.

      Thanks, Sage! Driving scares the crap out of me, though. These drivers where I live are crazy. I freak just being a passenger. And I will get out there to meet people. :)

      Delete
  19. My experience with my editor was really great. However, there were many go 'rounds. I decided to cut some things even after the second edit session. Making sure you name your editor on your amazon listing is important too, to show you had your book professionally edited and to give them their due credit. Great tips as always, Chrys!

    Your #1 sounds like a mother with her baby. Your story is like your child and it's hard to hear any criticism of our child. I'm sure when the time is right you'll feel it's ready to release to the beta readers. :)

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    1. That's a great time for self-published authors: naming the editor on the Amazon listing. My publisher sets up my listings, but I always thank my editor. :)

      My series is my baby. And that first book even more so. I am trying to figure out who to ask...if I could just give it to one person I trust and who writes in the same genre...I just don't know who.

      Delete
  20. I can only hope I can put your tips to good use soon. *crossing fingers*

    And you must live someplace with an excellent public transportation system! :)

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    1. I bet you will, DL. :D

      The public transpo is really nice here.

      Delete
  21. Great tips for editing. Loved your answers , I was not allowed to drive because of my Epilepsy, one word of advice about on line dating PLEASE be careful.
    I met my ex partner that way, seemed the perfect English Gent but I had seven and a half years of HELL. I am on my own but at least I have no bruises.
    saying that lots of people have met tht way and all have been well.
    Yvonne.

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    1. I will definitely be careful about online dating. I have a pretty good sixth sense when it comes to people. My best friend always wanted me to meet her new boyfriends so I could tell her the kind of vibes I got off them. I'm sorry that you had a bad experience with it, Yvonne.

      Delete
  22. I've never worked with an editor. Thanks for the tips.

    I bet a beta would love that book. And if they don't, so what? It doesn't negate the story at all. Just that one person's experience of it. But I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised.

    I'm a paranoid driver, and I've been driving 25+ years. Don't ask me why. It's not rational.

    Online dating service--I just disabled my account. It wasn't worth the effort. Have you heard of meetup.com? Find a group that has similar interests, and you'll have all sorts of people to hang out with.

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    1. You're right, Liz. I should give up my fear about that. Maybe I'll find someone by the end the year.

      It's scary to drive nowadays. People are crazy on the roads.

      I have never heard of meetup.com. I'll have to look into that. Thanks!

      Delete
  23. Who gets the absolute final word, is it you or the editor? Like if the editor wanted you to remove a piece of dialogue which you thought was vital, could you stick to your guns and keep it in?

    I'm sorry that people don't understand your fear of driving. It's a shame, because we all have doubts and fears that seem irrational to others.

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    1. You can certainly stick to your guns. You can explain why you want to keep it and maybe the editor will explain why he/she thinks why you should get rid of it. But as the author YOU get the final word. It's your book, after all.

      Thanks, Michael. :)

      Delete
  24. I tend to be solitary too and am working on changing that, one step at a time. Not that there's anything wrong with being solitary, I'm a loner by nature, but I do want to change a bit.
    I hope you will be able to achieve your goals when the time is right for you.

    I hadn't seen this question hop until today and am going to do it next month, seems like a great hop.

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    1. I'm a loner by nature too. :)

      Thank you!

      It is a fun hop. You'll enjoy it.

      Delete
  25. Chrys, a great post here about working with editors (said by an editor). It sounds like most of the commenters here have had good experiences, which is great. I've heard from editors who work for publishers that sometimes it is a struggle to balance the needs of the publishing house against what the author wants, which may be why sometimes there is contention. In self-publishing it's a bit different, since the editor is responsible only to the author, and is able to apply more flexibility (assuming it's a good editor).

    All the best to you finding a beta reader for your baby!

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    1. I can imagine that it can be difficult and editors are stuck right in the middle trying to please both. It can be hard.

      Thank you! :)

      Delete
  26. I'm pretty scared of getting a beta for the same reason. I worry they'll hate this thing I've been pouring my soul into for years. It's tough. When I took a creative writing class, the hardest thing for me was bringing my stuff up in front of people. It ended up being a positive experience and I became more aware of my faults and such. Still, I'm scared to send my babies out :(

    I feel you on the driving thing. Scares the poop out of me! I really should get on it, because isolation kills me, but people are crazy on the road, you know? :/

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    1. Sharing our words, characters, stories, and essentially...yes, our souls...can be very hard. It's as if we are laying ourselves bare and handing people knifes so they can cut us one by one. I'm considering finding someone to read at least the first three chapters, which have been the hardest for me to perfect, to see what he/she thinks. I just don't know who yet.

      Drivers are crazy as heck on the roads!

      Delete
    2. It's ok. You'll feel up to it eventually! Or may force yourself to! I find that anything to do with putting myself out there, I've got to force it. And once I've initiated it, it's not so bad!

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    3. You're absolutely right! :)

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  27. That was good advice about working with an editor. I do hear good things about online dating services; know several people who ended up getting married :) When it is time, I bet you'll decide to join one :)

    betty

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    1. I hear good things too. So you never know, right?

      Delete
  28. Your fear of driving may be well-founded. If you're fearful, skip it. I can't believe I indulged your fear...

    Dating site? But you're beautiful and talented! How can that be?

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    1. I think I'd be happier not trying to force myself to drive or get over my fear.

      Haha. Solitude. And I'm a bit introverted. That's how that can be. :P

      Delete
  29. Having a good relationship with your editor is so important. I love my editor at Spencer Hill Press. She really gets me and we work well together.

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  30. Excellent info about editors. I've always backed down, assuming I'm in the wrong. In the back of my mind somewhere I wondered if it was the right thing to do. :-)

    Anna from Elements of Writing

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    1. Always consider your thoughts and what your editor is telling you. There have been times when I questioned my editor only to realize she was right.

      Delete
  31. This is a great post! Very helpful. I have had mixed experiences with freelance editors. One personal editor literally became and remains one of my dearest friends. Another was fired within a week. Currently, I have a wonderful relationship with a new freelance editor for submissions, grants, etc. The key for us, is like your post suggests, keeping things professional and not getting too personal at all. My deeper editing experiences, through my published books, have all been rewarding, educational and helpful.

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    1. I've never had to pursue a freelance editor, but I think I'd be just as terrified as finding a beta reader for the first book in my series.

      It is good to lighten things after you work together for a bit and not keep every conversation so businessy.

      Delete
  32. My editor experiences have been pretty good, but I think that is largely that I started writing fiction with editing experience already under my belt. In grad school we did peer review, which was the prep I needed for publishing scientifically--now THAT process is cumbersome! But it taught me that feedback is ALWAYS good, even if the other person doesn't seem to get you... I generally find if they are confused that even when I don't agree with their solution, it STILL means I haven't gotten myself across well, so I need to fix that. I DID has one editor battle with one of my cozy mysteries that got taken up to the next level of editor because the main one and I disagreed and I wouldn't take her solution... But MOST of the process was smooth.

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    1. Having editing experience prior to writing and working with an editor is always helpful.

      Delete
  33. Ah, we're both freaked out by driving. I completely understand.

    Great post about editing. My editor at Samhain is fabulous, and I adore him. I wish everyone realized that editors are just there to help.

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    1. It's nice that a few people can at least understand. :)

      Exactly and they are only human.

      Delete
  34. I hope your opening statement is true. I think it is, but I'm excited to find out. I signed a contract last week for my YA novel. I'm elated to start working with my editor. She's awesome and filled with insight. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. In most cases it is true. Some editors may not be a good fit, but usually they are and because you work so closely with you on your book, they really are like a best friend...at least during the time it takes to edit your manuscript.

      Delete
  35. I worked with an editor on Little Orchid and she was very supportive. The insecurities I had with the manuscript worked out well after she gave me directions. As for your three things, I love your honesty, Chrys. I have a fear of driving as well and I know how insecure or jittery we can be with our writing and romance.

    My three things:
    1) Travel to another country alone for weeks.
    2) Make my ebook available in print and email school teachers to read it.
    3) Paint my next picture book.

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    1. Thanks for your understanding, Claudine! :)

      Oh, you should definitely make your eBook available in print and email school teachers. You can at least start in the schools you went to and expand from there. :)

      Delete
  36. There are a lot of bad drivers out there, but driving does give you a greater feeling of independence and flexibility. If you do learn, make sure get a good driving instructor and never drive distracted or emotional.

    Dating services have worked for some people in my circle, so I'm not completely against them, but you certainly have to be careful. Good luck!

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    1. That's the problem...I would be driving emotionally because I am so afraid. It's really like a phobia.

      Thanks, Lily! I will be careful. :)

      Delete

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