Happy Wednesday! It’s a special day today that has me completely jazzed. I have the honor of introducing my friend and Lyrical Press sister, Calisa Rhose. Not only is she an awesome writer, but she’s an editor too. I asked her to share a post from an editor’s perspective and she came through with an awesome look from the other side of the submission. So, if you’ve ever wanted insight from an editor’s perspective, settle in, kick back and check out what she has to say. Take it away, Calisa!
I don’t know about any of you, but when I first began submitting manuscripts (mss) to editors, I felt like I was subbing to the gods. Those oh-so unattainable and magical beings held MY career in the palms of their all-knowing hands. To say I was highly intimidated is putting it mildly. LOL I remember the first time I spoke with an editor on the phone. My voice shook, I clenched the phone so hard my fingers hurt and I wanted to sit down and pace at the same time! I was terrified I was screwing my book’s one chance at being published because I had deigned to impose on the upper realm where simple, tawdry writers, like me, were prohibited to enter.
Guess what? She was very friendly and answered my questions and made me realize she’s JUST A PERSON with a job. No longer was I afraid of editors. In fact, from that moment on, I decided I needed to be an editor! I don’t know why. Just had to. And now…I am.
And I’ll share a secret– Having another’s’ life work, their future as a writer in the palm of my hand, is not all it’s cracked up to be! It can be stressful to think a rejection could be the last straw for some poor thing. Will my “R” cause someone to put their laptop away permanently? Cause irreparable damage to some soul as the R strikes evilly at their eyes? If it does, then she wasn’t meant to be a writer, in my opinion. But still, I hate the thought. But a rejection hurts no matter how sugar coated it may be wrapped.
First of all–though I am a writer, I’m an editor, too, and I love helping aspiring–or even published– authors hone their craft. If you’ve ever read Home, my novella from The Wild Rose Press, at the end is my author bio. One line says “She intends to nurture…” and that’s my goal, and this - ( and continue to grow as an author). I have dreamed of helping other writers and this is one way I can. I also have a critique group, or two, but as an editor I hope to do more. Even if your manuscript (ms) needs work–some might need a LOT of work –I’m in a position to try to help that writer sell. That sale may not be with me–but as long as the author can take some gems away from me that betters their work, if she/he learns something of value, then my goal is met. Yes, I would rather contract every writer’s book, but realistically–that’s not possible.
As writers, we do understand how badly you want to get published, to get “The CALL” (which is mostly emails now in the new age of technology). We GET it. So, I’ll be sharing a few ways you can make sure I DON’T feel bad. Believe it or not, editors DO NOT live for the thrill of rejecting any writer’s work.
I want you to know we editors are really earth-bound– bleed red, and change jobs–just like you. Most, but not all, editors are also writers and some work outside the home, too, while trying to juggle both jobs just like you do/might. So what makes us different? We can get you a contract you might not otherwise be able to get.
One way we are able to do this is- YOU have to follow publisher guidelines.
You have to format your mss according to the pub house you are targeting.
Fear the mighty red pen! LOL
Write a book that draws us in
Write a book WELL- Study your craft and live it as you write
And above all- work WITH your editor. Tell her/him why you see things your way when they suggest a change on something you would rather not alter (be sure it’s written/researched correctly before balking on a change). Try to find a happy medium, a compromise. The editor is trying to help you write the best book you can, but you need to be open to change.
Now, I’m not saying the editor is always right. It’s your story, your characters–that puts YOU in charge of the end result. Editors can be wrong (though, of course, I never am! ), but so can the writer. Work together as a partnership and between you, I promise you’ll get a wonderful story out of it in the end and a contract.
Yes, with self-publishing you won’t need me and my expertise to get published. That doesn’t mean you don’t need an editor at all. Have you read some of those self-published books out now? That IS NOT a dig at the writer’s work, but an example of why every author does need an editor, another set of fresh eyes. Someone to help you write the best crafted book possible since you’ll be hoping and expecting people to spend their hard earned money to support your craft. It’s only fair to give them what they pay for. A well written book–and an editor can help you get there. I don’t know about all of you who choose to self-publish, but I want to myself one day, and I want to present readers with my best book, because I WANT them to tell others and to buy my other books. I want to sell work I can be proud of because it’s a memorable AND written-great story. I don’t want to be remembered because it’s THAT horribly crafted read.
Okay- I promised pet peeves. Here they are.
#1- I do not want to, nor will I, write your book for you. If the story is full of fillers and unnecessary wording the writer can easily remove/replace with more creativity and imagination, or by running it through a search to locate and delete overused and abused words, if it’s filled with typos and punctuation mistakes–why should I/an editor try to fix something a writer won’t fix themselves before submitting it?
A manuscript WITHOUT all of these — This is what it means to POLISH before submitting. It’s a basic requirement. You spent hours, weeks and months writing that baby, you love it and want to see it in print, even Eprint. So, why wouldn’t you take the extra care to be as sure as you can of its success?
#2- Well- #1 is really my only pet peeve worth mentioning. LOL Do your part BEFORE asking me to do mine! J But I will add a second pet peeve. Don’t be upset at a rejection if you didn’t do everything to prevent it first.
Thanks Mae! I loved being here today!
~ Contemporary/Paranormal author
~ Independent editor
~ References: Mackenzie Crowne- Where Would You Like Your Nipple? A guide into the abyss of breast cancer with humor and hope (see her comments here)