Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The agony & the ecstasy of the editorial letter

Last Wednesday I got my editorial letter for The Paris Secret. When you take into consideration that my last book (Diva's Last Curtain Call) was released from Kimani Press in the summer of '07, and went through the editorial process several months before its release, then it's been almost four years since I've worked with an editor. And I'm not counting the one I hired to edit Schooled In Lies, because she was hired to do copy edits and not line editing. Now that I have a publisher and an editor again, I'd almost forgotten what it was like to have someone being brutally honest about what isn't working in my manuscript. I equate the editorial letter to getting a shot of medicine. You absolutely know it's going to make your book better in the end. But, the needle can still sting a little going in. Every writer has different ways of dealing with the editorial letter. Here are some things to remember that always help me.

1. Your editor is on your side-(S)he wants your book to be the best it can be! It may not seem that way when you find out (s)he wants you to get rid of your favorite character Clucky the Wonder Chicken. But once you're thinking more clearly, you'll realize that Clucky really was dragging down the whole manuscript.

2. Your writing isn't perfect-Writing can be a lonely vocation. Many of us tend to write in a bubble receiving very little by way of feedback. As a result, we can be way too close to a project to see its flaws. Be happy you have an editor to point them out to you and suggest possible fixes.

3. You editor isn't a dictator-Most suggestions are negotiable. If your editor makes a suggestion that you truly do not agree with, explain your reasons behind not wanting to make the change. The two of you should be able to work together to come up with a compromise that benefits the book and makes both of you happy.

4. Your editor wanted to work with you-Your editor acquired your manuscript, right? And with publishers being more and more selective in the books they acquire, getting a book past all the levels it takes to get it acquired is no mean feat. If your editor wasn't enthusiastic about your book, believe me they wouldn't have bothered.

5. Get over yourself-Don't be your own worst enemy. Realize you don't know everything and that you're always going to be learning new things that will only make your writing better.

Oh, and for the record, I'm happy to say there wasn't a Clucky the Wonder Chicken in the Paris Secret.

Angela ; )

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