Editorial Tutorial…or some form of ‘orial’

Posted: February 16, 2012 in fiction, novel, Publishing, Writing

It’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been busy. Actually that’s an understatement. I thought I would share my experiences, albeit as on-going as they may be, on writing and the editorial process.

First, unless you’re a writer blessed with talents far beyond mortal means, you probably are not the best editor for your work. Why? Because you love your work. Because you don’t handle self-rejection and self-critique very well. Because…well, isn’t that enough? Sure, you can run spell check, catch a few of those seriously stupid words or sentences that crept into your work while you were busy seducing it to paper. Maybe even realize you blew the plot and are able to fix it. But you won’t see it like a reader will see it. You won’t see it like a publisher or an agent will see it. You won’t approach it from a ‘marketing’ standpoint. You simply won’t… because you’re a writer.

With my first book, Rockapocalypse: A Boy’s Tale (now called Rock of Ages: The Keeper, after umpteen million revisions), I contracted a freelance editor to do a developmental edit. It was rather disastrous from my standpoint. My book had various problems and I spent many months re-writing. So much re-writing in fact, that my book changed drastically. Which put me back to square one, and that was not a happy place for me.

Fortunately, I had enough of ‘something’ in my work to get the attention of a small, traditional boutique publisher. After failing to get a contract through their publication board process, for reasons that went far beyond the merits of the book, I was lucky enough to peak additional interest with the owner/CEO, and was offered a collaboration of sorts to get my book up to their publishing standards. Collaboration, you say? Yes. I now meet with the her once a week at their company offices and do a combined developmental/copy-edit on my manuscript. No contract has been offered, but I’m learning a great deal about the editing process and hope it will lead to one in the near future. The really cool thing? It’s not costing me a dime. And that means they’re willing to invest time (=money) in me.

On another front, my second book, Cold Currents, is now under editorial eyes. After a careful search, I landed the editorial services of a well-respected freelance editor with over 40 years experience in the publishing industry. I won’t go into details for discretionary reasons, but he’s associated with a lengthy list of well-known works spanning  his career. He’s currently providing a full edit on my manuscript as I write this. The cost will be a bit steep for my pockets, but it’s a sacrifice I feel I have to make at this point. I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous about his pending prognosis. It’s like waiting for a call from your doctor on your lab results.

The hardest part about both of the above? Not touching my work until the editing touches it. I really, really want to get back in there and ‘meddle-in-the- middle’, keep my fingers in it. But for now, I’ll just be content knowing I’m learning as I go with the edits on my first book and that I’ve got a professional’s eyes on my second book.

What are your thoughts on the editing process? Do you think the ‘wordsmithing’ stops with you? Do you have an editor you’re comfortable with that you return to over and over again? Is it important to you as a writer that your work shines to readers, and the industry in general?

Let me know your thoughts!

Disclaimer: This blog post has been edited with the narrow/bias perspective of its originator. Professional quality content should not be assumed by the reader.

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