Saturday, February 23, 2008

You couldn't pay me enough....

to be an editor.

Jeez, Marie...

I was just emailed by another author who was having difficulties with her editor on her next book. Okay, first off, let me be the first to say that I have severe allergies when it comes to editors. I used to have the Editor from Hell who didn't so much correct my grammatical mistakes, or find those loose threads still dangling in the breeze (uuh, Linda, if she's talking to him in the kitchen, how does she "shift the car into gear" in the next paragraph and drive away? Is the car parked next to the stove?) as she did telling me why my fantasy was a piece of crap. At the time she was my ONLY editor, so I had no inkling that that's not the way things were normally done. Okay, I know better now. :D

But the majority of editors want three things from you: a readable story, a sell-able book, and a solid reputation for the writer and pub. Nothing turns a reader off more than bad grammar or missed words, or wrong words (they're for there or their, etc.) -- it makes the PUBLISHER look bad, not as much as the author.

Plus, if the story is a joke (in a bad way), readers are reluctant to buy another book from that writer, and maybe even that publisher.

But, in the long run, the end product DOES look and read so much better and cleaner. It's a shame the editors have to be subjected to some irate authors who believe their works shouldn't be messed with.

Hats off to you, editors! Yeah, I may BMW to my hubby whenever I see a sea of red on my manuscript, but as Jim is fond of saying, "Step away from it and look at it from the reader's perspective. It may make sense to YOU, but if the editor can't make heads or tails from it, how can the reader?"

And if it wasn't a decent story to begin with, the publisher wouldn't spend an ounce of energy on it to publish it.


Diana Castilleja said...


I think the harder an editor is, the thicker our skin becomes, but it also strengthens our backbones. We learn, improve and know what will work and what won't. And write it better the next time.

Hot Ash Romance Novels said...

I'm an author who did a little editing for a friend...until I saw the cr*p she had already accepted and wanted me to edit! OMG!

I managed to wade through two of these manuscripts--teaching these authors how to write the entire time! It took forever! SO not worth the money.

I did get a little pat on the back from one of those authors who I thought must hate me...she sent me a copy of a 5 star review and congratulated US on it. Yep. WE did it!


Ana Lee Kennedy said...

I've been editing for about ten years. I've dealt with some major prima donnas and the odd writer from Hell, lol, but 80% of writers are willing to compromise and learn to make their work better.

However, those writers who scream at every comma you insert or take out do get on my wires. It's why I started the Writers' Hell series at Wild Child Publishing. If a writer is serious about being the best he or she can be, they'll strive to learn every aspect of writing and publishing that they can.

Excellent blog, Linda!

Laura Reagan said...

My first editor, who I still call Cruella, is one of my closest friends to this day. I too had alot to learn in making certain my story was an enjoyable bump free read. You can really see a difference from my first and second manuscripts as far as first drafts go. Whew!
My hat is off to all of the excellent editors I have had.

Ciara Gold said...

So very true. I've been very lucky. Both of the editors I've had have been wonderful. They catch my timeline problems and my poor word choices. I would not want to be an editor. I don't have enough memory cells to watch for inconsistencies in the story. When I write, I have to jot down a timeline for myself so I can remember what I wrote. Ah well. Kudos to both my editors, Joyce and Karen. You guys amaze me.

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Diane Craver said...

Great post, Linda! My editor was great helping me improve my books published by Samhain. I learned so much from her. The first book did have LOTS of red.