Join Prism Book Alliance® as Shae Connor goes Outside the Margins today.
While I was at RT in Las Vegas, I got not one, but two sets of edits, one from a publisher and one from a freelancer. Opening those files is always a bit nerve-racking. What if the editor hates it? What if it doesn’t make sense? What if I screwed up farther/further yet again??
There seems to be a general fear of edits among most authors. Maybe not as much as with submissions, because if you get to the edits stage, at least your story’s already passed an initial approval. And yes, occasionally an edit will go entirely off the rails; I had one a while back that deleted a bunch of necessary commas. A bad edit can ruin a story faster than no edit at all.
But edits exist for a reason: to make the story better. That can mean anything from correcting grammar, spelling, and the infamous Autonomous Body Parts (detached hands and eyes) to fixing continuity errors (what color are this character’s eyes again?) to filling in blanks where what was in the author’s head didn’t actually make it to the page (readers read words, not minds). Edits make sure that what the author intends to say is properly conveyed to the reader.
In my day job, I editing scientific manuscripts, but fiction editing is a vastly different animal, as much an art as a science. It takes talent and a deft touch to correct and improve a manuscript without damaging the author’s voice. An editor can be part schoolteacher, part cheerleader, and part therapist. Not everyone who tries it can find the right balance.
It also takes talent, and confidence, on the author’s part to choose which changes to accept and which to reject. Edits—good edits—shouldn’t be decrees handed down from on high. Authors should consider every comment, because if an editor notes it, it’s likely a general reader would as well, but they don’t have to accept them all as given. In general, I accept about 95 percent of edits on every manuscript. For the other 5 percent, I’ll either make a different change or make an argument to retain my original version. In most cases, those are accepted.
Of course, to this point, my edits have been either beta reads or publisher edits. This time, I have edits for a self-publishing venture, which puts the full onus on me. The comments on the manuscript are all good, but I’m the one who needs to figure out how to implement them. No publisher style guide to rely on here: I’m the publisher. No pressure, right?
The bottom line is that authors should try to view edits as a cause for celebration, not alarm. It’s a chance to make your story the very best it can be, both for yourself and for readers. And really, that should always be the goal for any author—and any editor.
About Shae ConnorShae Connor lives in Atlanta, where she’s a lackadaisical government worker for a living and writes sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. She’s been making things up for as long as she can remember, but it took her a long time to figure out that maybe she should try writing them down. She’s conned several companies into publishing her work and adds a new notch on her bedpost each time another story is unleashed onto an unsuspecting universe.
A member of the Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Writers chapter, Shae was first published in 2010 and has a lineup of short stories, novellas, and novels available from Dreamspinner Press, Wilde City Press, MLR Press, and Amber Allure.
Shae is part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why she never shuts up. When she’s not chained to her laptop, she enjoys cooking, traveling, watching baseball, and reading voraciously, and she’s an annual volunteer for the Dragon Con on-site publication, the Daily Dragon. You can find her hanging out on Twitter most any time @shaeconnor, but for the more direct route, you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website at shaeconnorwrites.com.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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