Give me one good reason why I need an editor.
I know you love your manuscript. It’s understandable that you might feel defensive toward anybody who questions your story or points out the parts that are weak, squeaky, flowery, redundant, or flawed.
So, I’ll give you four good reasons.
- Love is blind. You may have loved your story to death and not realized it. All that writing and moving text around and rewriting and deleting can lead to inconsistencies. You may know your story inside and out but not realize you’ve deleted some important information. For example, what if J.K. Rowling left out the reason why Harry’s lightening scar on his forehead pained him whenever Lord Voldemort was near? If we never learned that Voldemort had attempted to murder Harry when he was a baby and a piece of the Dark Lord’s soul was embedded in Harry, the rest of the story wouldn’t make sense. Readers might feel cheated.
- Perspective. Try this. Put your hand in front of your face. Count all the lines, scars, wrinkles, and cookie crumbs. Can’t do it? That’s because you are too close to see with perspicuity and focus. Just can’t be done.
- Skills. Writing and editing are separate skills. Some people say writing uses the creative left side of the brain and editing utilizes the analytical right side of the brain. Anyway, not everyone has the proper skill or knowledge to edit. Also, you may be great at editing other people’s manuscripts or documents, but that doesn’t mean that skill transfers to your own stuff.
- Even Editors need Editors. See number 2.
Are you gonna just kill all my darlings?
William Faulkner wrote: “In writing, you must kill all your darlings.” Stephen King enhanced that phrase by saying, “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.”
(What are you little darlings? Read Faces of a Fatally Flawed Manuscript)
I say kill your darlings but not their souls. Gently guide those sweet lil’ darlings out of the current story, wrap them in a warm blanket, and put them to bed in a new file to save for your next story. Occasionally, you can take them out, feed them, weep over them, caress them . . . but for now leave them alone.
Your story will thank you.
As will your readers.
Can you guarantee I'll be published?
If only I could!
But, alas, publishing needs and wants vacillate through the ages based on trends, whims, abundance of submissions, growing slush piles, the revolving door of acquisition editors, illnesses, deaths, current events, and probably what was on the lunch menu.
But, I can help your odds.
What are your specialities and strengths?
I specialize in fiction critiques.
My interests are in Women’s fiction, Upmarket fiction, Literary fiction, Thrillers, Psychological Thrillers, Historical Fiction, Fairy Tale retells, Mysteries, Folklore, Speculative Fiction, Children’s literature, Poetry Chapbooks, and Romance. (However, If you’ve written erotica, please look for another editor.)
My strengths in copy editing are characterization, plotting, and brainstorming/ideation.
I sent you an email. Now what?
You should hear from me within 24 hours.
Meanwhile, if you have written a book, while you’re waiting for me to get back to you, I have some homework for you. Please be ready to answer these questions:
- Do you have a website?
- What is your project?
- Who’s your target audience?
- Have you published before?
- Do you plan to self-publish or seek traditional publication?
- What is your timeframe?
- What is your previous writing experience?
- What help do you think you need with your project?
- What do you hope to gain from working with an editor?
- What are your fears?
Second, if you have your synopsis ready, I’ll want to take a peek at that.
Third, to get an accurate assessment of your writing style and skills, I’ll ask you to email your manuscript. I offer a complimentary sample edit on the first five double-spaced pages.
(Please send as a Word attachment, in Times New Roman, 12-point, double-spaced, left-justified, one space between sentences. Each paragraph should be indented using MS Word paragraphing or formatting tools.)
This will give me a good sense of your voice, your skill, your strengths, and your weaknesses. I’ll use Word Track Changes to make suggestions, revisions, coaching tips, encouragement, and my recommendations for moving forward then email that back to you.
Upon receipt, you’ll have an idea of my editing style and if I can assist you in building success into your story. If yo wish to proceed with my suggested proposal, let me know. I’ll email you a contract. Once both parties have signed the contract and the manuscript files are delivered and the down payment has cleared, I’ll schedule your edit.
By the way, if you haven’t heard back from me within a day (or two if it’s a weekend), something went wonky. Please try again.
What's Word Track Changes?
Microsoft Word is the industry standard word processing program and Track Changes is part of that. When the Track Changes function is enabled, all edits, strikeouts, and comments are recorded. You, as the author, will be able to review these changes and either accept or reject at will. Track Changes is an extremely helpful skill to add to your writing toolbox. There are plenty of videos on YouTube to guide you.
Need more help?
What do you as an editor expect from your writers?
First, don’t panic. It’s going to be okay.
Second, expect changes. It’s gonna happen. But, it’ll be for the better. You are welcome to negate your editor’s suggestions but for the health of your manuscript, take a step back and consider each suggestion.
Don’t pester your editor with daily emails. But, if you have questions, feel free to ask.
Be available so I can contact you with any questions.
Expect to work.
Send your work within the agreed time frame. If you have an issue that keeps you from this schedule, give your editor two weeks’ notice so your editor can schedule other work in the meantime.
This is a professional arrangement. You expect the editor to enhance your manuscript and your editor expects you to pay the correct amounts on the dates specified in the editing contract.
What books do you recommend?
There are so many great books to help you become a better writer. But if you are specifically looking for books that might help you to self-edit your manuscript, here are some great ones which you can find at Amazon or Barns and Noble:
- Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Browne & King
- Revision and Self-Editing for Publication by James Scott Bell
- Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors by Kathy Ide
It’s prudent to learn how to self-edit to the best of your ability. The less your editor has to work, the easier it is on your wallet.
FOLLOW THE EDIT GATE