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Posts Tagged ‘Editors’

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(My editor…unfortunately)

Scary, I know, but when you’re trying to get your book out in the busiest time of year, it’s bound to happen.

After the initial shock and denial stage, I immediately tried bargaining with her that I could push back my release a few months if she needed more time and, she first agreed—until she found out the page count of the third book. Clocking in around 640 pages, she just couldn’t promise me that it would get done by March. Since it usually takes another two or three months after the editor is through to make the changes and to send it off to copy editors, I knew I couldn’t make my fans wait that long.

But how could I change editors mid-series? Would this effect the consistency of my books? Could I find someone with the same skill at the same price? How could someone jump into such a complicated series mid-way?

After breathing into a paper bag for a few minutes and then self-medicating myself with too much chocolate, I realized that this might be meant to be (what I always say to myself in difficult situations). My editor recommended a few editors she works with (at a small press publishing company) and said there was one in particular that had a strong background with historicals. I contacted this person, sent off a sample chapter, and was so pleased to see that their styles were incredibly similar (at the same price to boot!).

She seems wonderful and she not only said she’d get right on the project, but that she wanted to read the first two books so she could understand the third book that much more!

So, just a word of assurance to any of you that might get the same shock, there are plenty of fantastic editors out there and situations might arise where you need to find an alternative mid-series. Take a deep breath and send out sample chapters to other recommended editors and feel around for one with a similar style. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to touch base with my editor a month earlier so that I could have had more time to find a good fit, but this time I was lucky to find someone so fast who was willing to start the project immediately. So keep in touch with your editors!

Happy Holiday everyone!

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Yes, it is a superhero talent to weed through and catch every error from comma placement to sentence structure to checking historical facts. And after all that, they still comprehend the work enough to make sweeping editorial changes!

How do they do all that?

I’m completely impressed by my editor’s talents. Both times I sent my ms to her I thought, I really feel like a caught everything this time. And both times, my ms came back painted with insertions, deletions, and editorial suggestions. My editor is the person who double-checks my parachute before I jump out the airplane. That added bit of confidence that I have produced the best novel that I can is priceless. Although, even with that extra pack inspection, every parachutist still has a backup parachute.

A proofreader (or copyeditor) is that extra parachute.

It’s important to get another pair of discerning eyes to pick up on the oversights the first editor missed. As authors, we’ve all experienced the moment when someone points out an obvious error and you say to yourself, I must have read that sentence a hundred times before, how could I have missed that!  Well, your editor is only human–although mine is as close to superhero as you can get–and they can overlook as well. Since my editor is making comments on practically every other sentence, things can get harder to spot. I do send it back for a second look through, but again, things may still slip on by.

Since the sequel is much longer (epicly long), I toyed with the idea that maybe I didn’t need a proofreader since my first editor is so amazing. The proofreader did find a few instances where she really saved my professional tukus in the first novel, but my editor caught most of the problems. So the cheap side of me tried to overcome the perfectionist side of me, but my OCD girl won out, and I opened up my wallet to hire the proofreader as well. The good news is that a proofread usually costs half of what the editor costs.

Phew! Was I glad I did get the proofread!

It must have been because this book is so much longer that it caused more opportunities for oversight, but she really caught some critical things. At one point I added something during the revision process and used the wrong name for a character and the proofreader caught that. That would have majorly confused someone. That one catch was worth her whole payment.

No matter how incredible your editor is, they are only human and can’t be 100% accurate.

The best evidence that all self-publishers should use an editor and a proofreader (if they can afford it) is that traditional publishers have a whole team of editors and copy-editors, all triple-checking your novel before release. As a self-publisher, I strive to mirror as many of the steps that a traditional publisher would carry out—at a lower cost of course.

So, you still might decide to only use an editor to save money, but if you hear feedback from an eagle-eyed reader about an error somewhere in your published novel, you’ll end up paying a formatter to go back and make those corrections for you, not to mention the fact that every review or rating you get mentioning that error is permanent.

My advice: hire the safety inspector and splurge for the backup parachute. It’s money well spent.

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Phew! I did it. I sent the corrected MS back to the editor for the second look through. She said she’d have it back to me in two weeks and then I’ll make the changes and ship it off to a second copy editor to make sure we caught everything.

But I didn’t change everything the editor suggested. Most of the time, I immediately saw that her suggestions improved my novel and implemented them, but there were some instances where I realized the change wasn’t right for what I wanted to convey to the reader.

Here are some examples of what I didn’t change:

1) I kept some ‘says’ and ‘continues’ in where I felt needed it, but I did try to take out as many as I could.

2) Some historic things she didn’t find in her research but I found support in more detailed non-fiction books.

3) She wanted to take out unneeded words and I thought it changed the flow or impact of the sentence so I kept them.

4) She made a suggestion to completely remove something that didn’t seem to have much relevance to this novel but it is something that will be mentioned throughout the next few books and explained in the last book.

5) Her suggestions sometimes showed me that she didn’t understand what I was trying to say and told me I needed to clarify the sentence better.

6) Also some of the suggestions she made went completely against some beta readers’ favorite parts. If you hear the same suggestions being made it tells you to change it, but if some of your readers love something I say you should keep it.

All in all, 95% of the time I made the changes. The last 5% I thought over and over about before I decided to keep my words in. But if I send it to the copy editor and she picks up on the same things I didn’t change, well then, I’ll probably make the changes since it’s obviously standing out in the wrong way.

Well, off to enjoy a little summer 🙂

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Blogging from the Jersey Shore today and so far I’ve never seen the beach this crowded in my life. Nothing makes me realize that I can’t stand most of human kind like a crowded beach. I read about a study with mice where scientists just kept overcrowding them to see what would happen and they all attacked each other. Well, that’s pretty much what started happening when you pile in way too many people on lava-hot sand, blanket to blanket.I’m hoping today will be much more enjoyable with all the weekenders gone.

Anyway, I was so excited when my editor returned my MS yesterday! She was a few days early and I was biting my nails wondering what kind of an editor she was going to be. My biggest fear was that my MS would come back with a few commas misplaced here and there. I’ve heard that one of the reasons why Amanda Hocking decided to take a publishing deal was to get traditional publishing editors due to her past unsatisfactory freelance editors. She mentioned that even after a couple of good editors looking over her books, readers were still finding errors.

I found this editor through a great recommendation from a member on the Absolute Write Forum and I liked that this editor actually worked for an e-publishing company presently. That made me feel like she’s obviously qualified to edit professional-grade books out on the market so she would be able to get mine to those standards as well.

But, I still worried that maybe somehow this person might not put as much time into freelance work or take it as seriously. Especially since this editor has extremely reasonable rates and promised to not only get it back to me within a month but will do a second once over after I make the corrections.

Well, she was wonderful! She sent me an email explaining some of the big things she felt needed to be changed and explained that she had a style sheet attached to help me understand all of her corrections in the margins. I’ve only glanced over the first few pages and the pages are filled with comments and corrections! Most of them are punctuation misuse, suggestions for tightening, and word repetition. She’s even tried to look up some of the historical facts to be sure I’m 100% authentic to the time periods.

Wow…seriously wow. If you are in need of a wonderful, professional, and reasonable editor I think I’ve found one! (And I will slip you her name for a small fee)

Just kidding, I will pass this good find forward. I can’t WAIT to get home and really start cracking away at it!

PS- I wish I could pay someone to edit my blog 🙂 My grammar and punctuation misuse must burn some reader’s eyes!

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