How responsive are you to feedback? Psst – it’s an editor’s job to give you some…
I hosted a gathering for some authors the other night as part of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup.
At one point, the conversation turned to editing. One of the authors who attended writes YA fantasy fiction. She described her experience working with her editor: “At one point, he actually made me cry. My book started out at 145,000 words, and wound up being 115,000 words, so he made me cut out a LOT of stuff. But it was so much better after I did that. It was hard to hear, but so important. I can’t imagine people thinking they don’t need an editor.”
We’ve written before about the importance of an editor to your book marketing efforts. With few exceptions (Fifty Shades of Grey comes to mind), a book that’s not readable due to lack of editing is very challenging to market. Ever succumbed to the dozens – perhaps hundreds – of sites that offer access to free ebooks? I have. And guess what – free books are free for a reason. Most of them are so bad, I’m just glad I didn’t spend even 99¢ on them. The thing is, they don’t have to be bad. More than likely, though, their authors opted to skip the editing step in the publishing process.
I will grant you that good editing is expensive. It’s a specific skill that good editors spend many years developing and honing, and for which they deserve to be well paid. A good editor’s job is to make your work sound like you, but better. If you want your book to succeed, find an editor. Budget for the best editor you can afford! Even if you can’t afford a professional editor, there are things you can do to improve your writing. Barter with a friend. Find a college English major looking to make a few bucks. Head to Craigslist, for crying out loud. But get someone to read it before you publish.
But whether you invest a lot or a little in your editor, the relationship promises to go south unless the following apply to you:
• You want to publish or submit the best manuscript or copy you possibly can.
• You have a strong vision for your book or manuscript and have clearly identified your audience.
• You are coachable and can accept advice and/or criticism from a professional who has your best interests at heart. (Ahem … this is the whole point of this post, right?)
• While you are coachable, you also are not afraid to push back and tell your editor they are not taking your work in the right direction. (Also incredibly important.)
• You are interested in forming a partnership with a skilled expert who can give you precise advice about strengthening your writing to create a book you will be proud of.
• You want your manuscript to stand out among all the others that prospective agents and/or publishers will be reviewing.
Visit WriteMarketDesign.com to download my free special report, “First-Time Author’s Guide to Hiring the Right Editor for You” to learn more about how the editing process works.
Here’s to a great editing experience!
__________________ PHOENIX-AREA AUTHORS: If you or someone you know is an author in Phoenix, please consider participating in the Summer Author Event on August 16. This multi-author book signing and meet-and-greet will put you in front of hundreds of readers in a casual environment where you can sell and sign books. There are three levels of participation. The first 100 attendees will receive goody bags – and for just $25, you can put a promo for your book into the goody bags! Learn more or register at SummerAuthorEvent.com.
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.