Do you Love your Editor? - Show it!
I thought I'd write about my own personal experiences again - this time regarding editing.
This will prove invaluable to all you new and aspiring authors.
I'm not going to refer to the main points we should all be aware of - Head Hopping - Commas - "Bodifying" as I call it. (If you don't know what those terms mean yet - research it! You'll be glad you did).(A good reference source can be found through the Ruby Lioness Press website).
No, I'm trying to write about it from the perspective of how we - the authors - hopefully view our editors.
Remember - IF we are fortunate enough to get a publisher to accept our work, well done!
Think of it from their perspective for a moment...
When a publisher accepts our work, they are taking a chance on us.
Simply put, their business is to earn money through/with us. The better the stories and authors they have on their books, the better it is for everyone involved. But those standards don't just "miracle" themselves into place. That's why we have editors.
The editor is there to make both parties happy - the Publisher and the Author.
I view the editors I have as a godsend - as someone who will esure my story is the very best it can be. That means the Publisher will be happy to continue accepting my stories, because the public will love reading them!
And to be honest - I think I NEED that help. Let me tell you why...
Although I live in the Greek Islands, I'm from Britain. I'm well educated - so yes - I have a pretty good grasp of english and the points of grammar required to put the concepts I have into an interesting format.
BUT, as I've learned, there is quite a difference between English/english and American/english. (Which is by far the largest target audience).
Additionally, I have to overcome the hurdles "conditioned" into me by life experience.
In the UK, we tend to use/employ "run on" sentences quite a lot! It's natural, it's accepted and we don't think twice about it...(but I do now..ha ha)...
In the military & police, we tended to use certain phraseologies that WE understood - but most of the reading public will not.
These habits are reflected in my writing.
The editors I have been blessed to work with, have spotted those tendencies and have helped me start the process of eliminating them from my manuscripts.
NOW - this is important...
When they spotted these -( lets call them "errors" )- and made suggestions to change/revise/or restructure an aspect of my story, they were not criticizing "ME".
They were not trying to take away my "voice" or my style or personality from the story.
They WERE/ARE trying to use their vast experience to make my story as polished and as attractive to the reader as possible.
Throught that process, they are helping me - as a new author - learn, adjust and improve - so, as I continue to write, I naturally begin to incorporate their suggestions into future work.
That's good for me, because it enhances my stories from the word go.
It's good for the publisher, as they get to see the standard of my work improving.
It's good for the editor too - (who you hope to work with in the future) - because 1. It shows they are doing their job well, and, 2. They'll enjoy working with you in future knowing you are someone they can trust to incorporate their guidance into the manuscripts they spend a lot of their personal time examining.
It sometimes means we have to work hard! But so what? We - as authors - benefit from it.
So, how can we show the editor we appreciate them?
My personal experience again - from an editing side.
While waiting to find a publisher, I'd almost completed the second novel of the Guardian Series, (Guardians).
Ruby Lioness Press very kindly - "took a chance on me" - and offered me a contract for "Guardian Angels". So, not long after accepting Guardian Angels, "Guardians" was ready. Then I completed a short story that became my first actual release - "Fairy Tail". Then I completed a short story for the Halloween anthology, "Love Bite". Basically, I'd submitted two novels and two short stories in a relatively short period of time.
When the editing stage of Fairy Tail arrived, my editor (No names in case they get embarrassed) made my first experience quite painless. Although it was a short story, she picked up on my tendencies to use "run on" sentences and certain phrases that might not be understood and helped me correct them. I really enjoyed the experience and used what I learned in my latest projects. However - remember, I'd already submitted 3 other works by this time.
At the moment, I'm in the editing stage of Guardian Angels.
As this is a different genre from my first release, I have another editor who also picked up on my weaknesses. GOOD!
Thats shows our editors have high standards and are excellent quality control filters.
Now, because this manuscript is a major novel and requires a lot of hard work it got me thinking....
How can I show my editors/future editors that I appreciate their hard work and I'm someone they can look forward to working with?
How can I show Angie and Marissa I'm someone they should continue to take a chance on?
Simple answer - work WITH them.
As I complete the edits for Guardian Angels, I'm obviously incorporating what I'm learning into current projects (Fallen Angels & the new Cambion series). However...
How could I put myself forward as someone to work with if I just left, eg, Guardians as it is?
I submitted it some months ago - BEFORE - going through the actual Publishers Editing process.
My current editor for Guardian Angels is someone I hope to work with in the future.
How do you think she'd feel, having completed my 1st full length novel - only to find those same errors repeated in the 2nd work because I couldn't be bothered to incorporate what I've learned into it, because...
"Oh, I submitted that a while back. It doesn't matter - my editor will do it for me"
Do you see?
That's why I'm currently revising my own master copy of Guardians from beginning to end.
YES, it's more work for me. YES, it means I have to put Fallen Angels and the Cambion novel on hold while I complete the revision.
BUT - as an author - it shows the "team" you aspire to be part of that you are a team player!
When I resubmit it, the difference will be clear. (And the professional potential this will generate for the future will pay dividends)
Hard work pays off.
In the future, my standard of work will be all the better for it. (Something every author/aspiring author should aim for).
That will please my publishers - AND - the editors assigned to me. (Again - something we should all desire).
So - all you new and/or inspiring authors out there...I suppose - what I've been trying to say is - working closely WITH your editor involves much more than tapping an "accept" button.
Listen to what they have to say.
Take on board their suggestions and constructive criticism.
Incorporate their refinements into your current and future projects.
Put the time and effort and work in - NOW!
Because if you do...your own distinctive voice & style will come to stand out from all the other wannabe's and you'll be known as an author who aspires to - and achieves - the highest standards.
Do you love your editor(s)?
I know I do!
Because if I listen to them - one day - everyone will know my name!