Thursday, December 4, 2008

Trusting Your Editor

So, you finally have that contract in your hand. You’ve told your husband, your mother, and even the woman in line behind you in the grocery store, who wouldn’t know you from Adam :) I know, I’ve been there myself. It’s an exciting time.

Your book is going to be published! Maybe it’s your first book. Maybe it’s your tenth. Either way, it’s a fabulous feeling. Until you receive those first round of edits.

Suddenly, your manuscript—the one your editor swore she adored—is filled with more markups than the red-marked sale tags at a store closing sale. Your heart drops. Was your manuscript really in need of that much help?

This is a tough moment. Your words, your baby, has been critiqued and edited. It may be light, or it may have needed more work than you anticipated. No matter what, it’s a difficult pill to swallow.

The first thing I would advise is to just go through the edits once, and then set it aside for a day. You need time to let it sink in, and to think about what your editor had to say objectively. Keep an open mind as much as possible.

Your editor is trying to make your manuscript shine. She’s trying to polish it, not change the essence of it. And though your first instinct might be to fight the changes she’s asking for, I suggest trusting your editor. Give them a chance. Does this mean you shouldn’t question things you don’t agree with? By no means. Your name is going to be on this work. It’s your reputation on the line.

But also consider it is the editor's and publisher’s reputation as well.

Do editors make mistakes? Of course, we are human. But generally, many disagreements can be cleared up by honest communication and keeping an open mind. The editors here at TWRP are happy to work with you. This is a partnership.

Go over your edits with as much objectivity as you can muster and take what you can from them.

As TWRP editors we are always here to help and keep the lines of communication open.

Go ahead and ask questions. That’s what we are here for.

Renee Lynn
Editor--Champagne Line
The Wild Rose Press


Catherine Bybee said...

Sound advice. A sea of red is hard to swollow.

Thanks for posting all this awesome info.

Loretta C. Rogers said...

All true words, Renee. I've worked with two editors at TWRP and have to agree that they did make my work shine. Even as I was doing the suggested revisions, I could see the improvements. It's sort of like sending our child off to their first day of kindergarten, we don't want to let go, but know that in the long run, our baby will be smarter because of it. In this case, our baby is the finished project with an excellent story sandwiched inside a beautiful book cover. Great post!


Mona Risk said...

Renee, I read all your posts and enjoyed them. I just received my second contract from TWRP and started my editing. My wonderful editor puts her edits in blue not red. LOL. So it's easier on the eyes. She's so good at polishing my writing. I have done a lot of critiquing and judging contests. I can appreciate the effort provided and time used by my editor to do such a thorough job.

Eliza Knight said...

Wonderfully said Renee!

I remember that first round of edits. I was like OH NO! But then I realized how much smoother and better it made the story. You guys do an awesome job, and I agree 100% with trusting your editor.

You guys aren't in the business of making it worse, only better!

Susan Macatee said...

Great advice!
I've worked with two editors here at TWRP and they did nothing but improve my stories, so my work really shines. I appreciate all they do.

Vivian Crosby said...

Making a story shine is what an editor (at least this one *g*) loves most. Every post you've shared with us this week has been great, Renee!

Mary Ricksen said...

I had a sea of red. I am the comma queen. Well no more I hope...after trying my best to learn how to do it right!
My poor editor is a saint. But she made me into, not just a story-teller but an author. Thanks're the best!

Renee Lynn said...

Hi Catherine! Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog. Glad you enjoyed it.

Loretta, love your analogy about sending off your child to kindergarten. It's so true!

Mona, congrats on your new contract! Sounds like you have a great relationship with your editor. :)

Hi Eliza! Trusting your editor is key. Or else you may find yourself resenting every change.

Susan, thanks for stopping by again. Glad to hear you have been so happy here in the garden!

Hi Vivian! Thanks for checking out my posts. I appreciate it!

Mary, what a fabulous attitude! Sounds like you have really taken your editor's comments and learned from them :)


Pamela S Thibodeaux said...

Great advice!

One thing I've found that helps is to do the "little" edits or ly words, etc. Then take a break and go back for the bigger/longer ones....scene adds/subtracts, POV changes, etc.

Oh and on POV - ask yourself while you're reading..."Whose POV am I in?"

Sometimes we get so caught up we forget - at least I do.