Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesday! A big part of crossing the threshold from writer to author is never giving up. Perseverance and continuing to expand your knowledge of writing and publishing can make all the difference in the world. If you don't believe me, the fabulous Jacie Floyd will set you straight!
Editing is More Than Typos and Commas
I had been writing for a very long time with pretty good success for an unknown, unpublished author. I joined RWA and several local chapters to stay current on publishing news and trends. I participated in critique groups. I attended conferences. And I entered contests.
I had been a Golden Heart finalist six times, and I had won twice, along with several other big competitions. I was on the right track and knew what I was doing. Or so I thought.
The first time an editor reviewed one of my contest entries, she asked to see the full manuscript. I sent it and waited. And waited some more. Waited a long time. Finally, after more than a year and numerous calls and letters, I received a response. A form letter Rejection. With a capital R. The same scenario repeated itself over the years, occasionally with more personal letters or revision suggestions. Editors told me I should get an agent. Agents told me “No, thanks.”
At the 2013 RWA National conference, the year of my last Golden Heart nomination, my daughter attended the conference with me. While I was busy enjoying my GH status, she went to self-publishing workshops. She asked me why I hadn’t tried self-publishing. Mostly because I didn’t have any of the required technical skills.
But luckily for me, my daughter was a wizard at the technical things and was willing to help. I just had to handle some of the non-technical things. Like chart my course, hire an editor, choose a cover designer, figure out Amazon, PR and marketing, and other tasks that I didn’t have any idea about. But I asked around. Got recommendations. Sent emails. With my daughter’s help, I was able to fulfill a lifelong dream and publish Meet Your Mate, my first romantic comedy. We might have struggled through that first publication, but we managed, and each one has gotten easier.
Now which of these things did I wish I had done or learned about previously? Which of them might have helped me get better rejection letters from editors, more consideration from agents, and possibly, a book contract with a traditional publisher?
The freelance developmental editor.
It was clear from the contest wins and requests from editors that I knew how to write.
But it wasn’t until I hired a developmental editor to look at my completed manuscripts that the light dinged. If there were spotty problems with structure, organization, coherence, or logical consistency, I couldn’t detect them on my own. This was the reason I hadn’t made the final connection with agents and editors in my quest for publication. This was the “special” something that my manuscripts lacked. My stories and plots were good, but not quite good enough. And I was too close to it to see the problem.
When your manuscript is perfect, when you think it is as good as you can possibly make it, whether you intend to self-publish or submit to a traditional publishing house, hire a professional editor look at it first.
The charges and services of a developmental editor vary. Some charge by the hour, some charge by the word. Check out their websites. Check with other authors who use them. To guarantee that they offer the type of expertise you’re looking for, some editors will review a few sample pages for you before you commit to a contract. But if you spend money on only one thing prior to publication, it should be spent on this.
Should you blindly follow all of their suggestions?
No, absolutely not. Only if it works for you and fits into your vision for your book. But even if it doesn’t, it may point out the trouble spots and give you something to think about that will lead you in a new direction. Possibly a better direction. This may be the thing that takes your work to the next level, the highest level, above everything else sitting in the slush pile or languishing in the Amazon rankings.
Make your manuscript shine with a professional polish of a developmental editor before sending it out into the real world.
The Billionaire Brotherhood:
Winning Wyatt http://www.amazon.com/Winning-Wyatt-Billionaire-Brotherhood-Book-ebook/dp/B00YBLKAXG
Daring Dylan http://www.amazon.com/Daring-Dylan-Billionaire-Brotherhood-Book-ebook/dp/B0140K01IQ
The Good Riders:
Meet Your Mate http://www.amazon.com/Meet-Your-Mate-Riders-Romance-ebook/dp/B00MPSD65Q
Cursed By Love http://www.amazon.com/Cursed-Love-Good-Riders-Romance-ebook/dp/B00OZVOSJ4
Meant For Me http://www.amazon.com/Meant-Good-Riders-Romance-Book-ebook/dp/B00WP6ZGLA
Summer Kisses: Ten Golden Heart Authors Boxed Set http://www.amazon.com/SUMMER-KISSES-Golden-Heart-Authors-ebook/dp/B0103283SU
Romance...With A Kick!