#WriterWednesday Tip: A Strategic Partner – Your Book Editor

If you are any type of writer — Indie, or traditionally published — you know the importance of having your work properly edited by an experienced, caring and compassionate editor.

I’ll tell you a ‘horror’ story.  My very first book that I released called Opening Up was a labor of love.  I had worked on it for upwards of four years.  I tweaked and primped it and thought I was finished by the end of year four.  I sent it to my editor – KLM Editorial Services — and she ripped it apart…kindly, of course.

However, this is exactly why you have an editor to do just that — tell you when you need to cut, revise, or throw out completely.  Well, maybe that last bit is going overboard but you get the point.  I did revise Opening Up.  I did publish it and the reviews came back that readers loved a minor character that was introduced towards the middle of the book.  Readers wanted that minor character to be the focal point of the book!

This was not the job of the editor to ferret out.  That was the job of a supportive writer’s group which at that time I did not have.  Readers did comment that for an Indie book it did not have the grammatical, punctuation and other technical flaws one saw from a new independent author.  Kudos to KLM Editorial!

Needless to say, I pulled that book and have re-worked the story arc and have a fully executed outline ready to go.  But that, as they say, is another story!

Every Wednesday is #WriterWednesday on Twitter and I wanted to do something special for it.  Something we writers can appreciate.  I would like to share my editor, Karen, with you — KLM Editorial Services!

Here is a Q & A with Karen so you can get a sense of how she works and if she may be the perfect fit for you and your book.

How would you define success as an editor?

Personally, I feel I’m a success when someone will refer me to a possible client, because they are very satisfied with work I have done for them in the past. I also get satisfaction if any book I’ve worked on has been nominated for, or received, an award.  Although most of the effort is that of the author, I also had a hand in that success.

When someone gives you something to edit, what do you do?

I have always believed, and stressed to “my” authors, that their story is theirs – I’m only here to help them make it the very best possible story it can be.  I don’t always agree with content, but it’s not my place to do so.  Spelling, punctuation, and sentence structure, now – that’s a different thing entirely…
I know some people believe that you should be able to work with any author/editor, but sometimes personalities just don’t mesh.  When that happens, it’s to the author’s benefit to get a different editor, otherwise she/he runs the risk of getting a poorly edited story that may not do well in the market.
My definition of Freelance work:  An author has written a novel.  They wish to find an editor to polish that novel before a potential publisher sees it.  They have heard of me through “the grapevine” or through a publishing house or some other means (for example, my name is in many of the books I have edited, listed on the copyright page as editor).  They contract with me to edit their book, and pay me an agreed upon amount, in portions, to edit the work.  I have also done freelance work when a publishing house says “I have a novel.  It needs an editor.”  They give me a synopsis of this book, and ask, “Do you want to do this book?  If so, what will you charge, and what will you do for that money?”  They then negotiate the contract for me, and have the author contact me with the manuscript.
What I do —  SUBSTANTIVE EDITING  (an explanation:  http://grammar.about.com/od/c/g/copyeditingterm.htm)
I was trained by an acquisitions editor at Doubleday to do a total edit….from proofreading and copyediting to the Substantive Line Edit as a complete service.  That’s what you get from me.
I copy edit (grammar, punctuation and spelling) of the content of the manuscript. I check for continuity errors.  I pare all extraneous words out…and can point each of them out.  All the little IF, AND, BUT, THEN, THEY    etc.  I check for smooth flow, and help tighten the manuscript, WITH the author.  I make suggestions…  I question what the author “means” if something is unclear.  Do you mean “a”  or do you mean “b.”   I do try to encourage the author with their work.  If I see they have potential (in my opinion) I try to point that out.
I am NOT a book “doctor.”  I do NOT re-write the book.  I do not LIKE to give writing lessons to the author that truly writes dreadfully…giving writing lessons is not the job of an editor.
What I wish writers would do and not do before I see their
manuscript —
DO:  Spell and grammar check the entire work.  Cut as many extraneous words, and make the work flow before an editor sees it.  Write your work, and let it sit for a time (probably about a month) and then re-read it with a “fresh eye” to see what changes might be made — and make them.
NOT DO:  Expect the editor to write their novel for them.  They can take the editor’s questions about what is already written, and the editor’s comments of what the editor has read.  Using that information they craft the work; an editor does not.
Tell us about an example of a conflict you’ve experienced in an editing situation and how you’ve resolved it.
I was given a manuscript by a publisher with whom I had worked for a few years.  The author was a novice; this was his first book.  I did my complete edit, and added comments and suggestions for improvement.  Apparently the author took none of my suggestions, and made no changes or adjustments.
The publisher knew that nothing I suggested was used because of the previous quality of my work.  She apologized to me for the author’s attitude, which was quite kind of her.
A different client, who was also a first time author, hired me to work on his book.  What irked me was he changed and added chapters to the story after I had completed my edit, but did not allow me to go over the new material.  The new material was not as good as what we had worked on improving during my editing pass.  He added my name to the copyright page of the book as editor without my permission.  This one title I never refer to when I’m asked for my credentials since the novel was changed after I worked on it.
This author later wanted me to do subsequent books in this series, and I refused.  He was of the opinion that, “everyone has a price,” and he would pay it.  No amount of money would be enough for me to go through those headaches again.
What would the ideal editing job be for you? [Please say Indie authors! I’m an Indie author. :-))]
LOL!  Most of my clients are indie authors these days!  I was trained to edit almost anything.  I’ve edited titles from historical fiction, romance, science fiction, children’s books, historical articles and gay fiction.
Editing, in my opinion, is the same for the indie writer than for one that might be submitting to a publishing house.  You need to deliver a high quality product to the end-user: the reader.
What if an author, or organization, has several editorial candidates with similar qualifications.  Tell us some reasons why we should hire you?
I have decades of experience, and let my resume speak for itself.  I was trained by an acquisitions editor from Doubleday in the 1970’s-80’s.  I always am mindful that the manuscript is the work of the author.  I try to keep their “voice,” in all that I do.
Here is a selection of the books that I have edited.
SHORT STORIES
Immortal State by Barry Nove
Nowhere to Go But Mars by Barry Nove
Crossroads of Sin by D.H. Aire
Time Out by D.H. Aire
Novels
Merchants and Mages by D.H. Aire,
Human Mage by D.H. Aire,
Highmage by D.H. Aire,
Well Armed Brides by D.H. Aire,  (release date: tentatively March 15, 2015)
Dare 2 Believe by D.H. Aire,  (release date: tentatively May 1, 2015)
Terran Catalyst* by D.H. Aire,  (*forthcoming)
Highmage’s Plight —  proofing of second printing.
Flights of Fantasy, Volume One, edited by Colin Neilson, featuring the stories of D.H. Aire and Barry Nove
Nonfiction/Fiction
The Ellis Island Experience: A Sampling of Stories and How You Can Research Your Own by Barry Nove
Works by DONNA FERNSTROM
SORROWS
SECRETS (Short Story)
Works by ROCHELLE CAMPBELL
LEAPING OUT ON FAITH
FURY FROM HELL
“Single Mamas Guide to Being the Best Mom Ever: Getting Your Financial Life on Track”
 
Works by K.L. SCHAEFER
The Caring-Shell
Once Upon A Cloud
Walls of Ancient Stone
Works by KARL FIVE
Orgasm Incorporated — books 1 and 2
Okay, last question.  What types of editorial services do you provide?
I DON’T format manuscripts for publication.  I do offer to suggest possible publishing sources such as Create Space and X-libris.
  • check for continuity errors
  • copy edit (grammar, punctuation and spelling) the content of the manuscript..
  • pare all extraneous words out…and can point each of them out.
  • check for smooth flow, and help tighten the manuscript, WITH the author.
  • make suggestions for improvements
  • question what the author “means” if something is unclear.
  • substantive editing

Karen, KLM Editorial Services

You can find out more about KLM Editorial Services by clicking these links:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/klmacleod

http://www.simegen.com/bios/klbio.html

Please note: Any formatting issues in this post are the sole responsibility of this author — not her editor!

Advertisements