Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Editorial Advice

I'm involved in several different aspects of publishing. I'm an author and an editor. At one point, I was even reading submissions and deciding their fate. I don't do much of that anymore, which is probably a good thing. I shouldn't have that much power. Mwahahaha!

As an editor, I wanted to give some pointers on how to make the editing process painless for all those involved. This is just a small list, and perhaps in the future I will give you more.

1. Put your email address on your story. I know this sounds like common sense, but you'd be amazed how many times I've had to track an email address down. You know I have to talk to you, so make it easy on both of us, and put your information where I can find it. I don't care if it's on the title page or in the header, just make it available. It wastes my time and the publishers if I have to hound them for your email address.

2. Format your manuscript. Again, this sounds like common sense, and with all the strict submission guidelines, you would think it wouldn't be a problem. However, some companies have fairly loose standards when it comes to formatting. BUT, that doesn't mean you should. Make your manuscript look professional and legible! Yes, eventually it will be formatted to the publisher's standard, but make reading it easier on me. I can't tell you how frustrating it is to try and figure out where paragraph breaks are. And use the "page break" function for chapters. Putting in extra spaces convolutes things. If you don't know how to put in a page break, use Help to find out.

3. I'm going to find mistakes. That's what I get paid for. I have a Master's in English, I write, AND I edit, and editors still find mistakes in my stories. No one's perfect. I enjoy when an editor goes through my work because it's only going to make things better. However, some of their suggestions don't always jive with what I want to happen in my story. I will probably make suggestions in a story that the author won't agree with, and that's fine. Let's talk about it. Figure out what's going to work best. I'm not an ogre, and it is your story. We can work things out.

Most editors are there to help your story out. They want it to be the best it can. But remember, we aren't miracle workers. It's a give and take on both sides, and you still have to do your part!

2 comments:

Michelle said...

I'm involved in editing three manuscripts, all at different stages, and I'm trying to finish my WIP. My biggest issue is TIME. How do I juggle them and still make sure they are as polished as they can be (and still have time to eat and sleep)?

Thanks for the advice. It helps to hear tidbits from someone who works on both sides of the fence.

Michelle
www.Michelle-Pickett.com

Author of Concilium, available July 2012
Concilium: The Departure, November 2012
PODs, available June 2013

Pembroke Sinclair said...

Prioritize. Which one is most important? Which one is due first? Focus all of your attention on that, then move onto the next.

Once you get edits finished and off to the editor, work on the next one. When all the edits are done, pick up where you left off on the WIP. Sadly, some things have to be shuffled to the back burner. You might have to put the WIP off for a while. The good thing is that it's always there waiting for you!