What the Editor Said
The second comment on my new e-book Born of Water caused some concern. After all, the commenter said that there were still some edits needed. Eeep! Though the rest of the comment said that the needed edits weren’t too distracting. Still, I was at a loss. What kind of edits? What had I missed? Just how bad was this manuscript that I had thought was pretty good . . . ?
I’ve had friends read over my manuscript. I’ve read through Born of Water so many times I think I could recite it – which doesn’t help if you are trying to edit. You start to see what you think you put there and not what is actually written. Editing is a completely different mindset. I enjoy it, but I need time and separation from a work before I can see what is there and not what is in my head.
So despite tons of researched advice that went to the contrary, I paid an editor to take a look at Born of Water. So many websites said to use Writing Groups, learn to edit yourself, an editor can cost a fortune. But I’ve been in a writing group, I am learning but don’t see where I’m wrong, and sometimes a professional’s opinion is a nice bucket of cold water in the face. If I’m crap (or just way off base), a wake-up call wouldn’t hurt.
So I sent Born of Water over to Maine Author’s Publishing. This is the group that if I ever decide to do a print version of Born of Water I’ll probably use to self-publish. They are local, well-reviewed, and just plain nice. I sent Born of Water if for an editorial evaluation that would rank everything from word choice, grammar and punctuation to plot and character development, POV, and marketability! I hit send to the email and waited trembling in anxiety. Well not really, but I was nervous. Just what would a professional say?
Happily, I didn’t have to wait long. THE NEXT DAY I got the result! You can see them here: Ed. Evaluation.BORN OF WATER. Boy was a bowled over. 🙂 They liked it. I got excellent ratings in many categories and learned where my weaknesses lay: homonyms gosh darn it. Follow up emails even said that my manuscript had been one of the better ones they’d seen as far as edits went. They still suggested it needed 16 hours. Still, I was relieved. My brain had been having fantasies of far worse results.
Admittedly, I bartered back and forth to drop the rate to have them edit the manuscript. I’m not expecting to become wealthy as a writer and don’t have tons of start-up cash either. Raven pushed for me to try to do the editing myself. I gave it a whirl with a style guide open and . . . got lost. All the examples made sense in the book. When I went to apply them to Born of Water, I started second guessing EVERYTHING. So, I contacted Maine Author’s Publishing and told them to go ahead and edit the first half.
See, they edit in Word with Track Changes on. I’ll get to see what they say is wrong and if I don’t understand why, will then be able to look it up! I’m sure the trend of my mistakes won’t change that much from the front to the back. I’ll learn with concrete examples from my writing and hopefully be less likely to repeat them (and at least be able to realize that I did when I go to edit).
Was it worth hiring and editor. YES! I have no regrets on the money spent. I feel far more confident about my abilities as a writer and I’m excited to see where my mistakes are and learn to correct them. One of the best results from the evaluation though was the affect on family. While readers of my drafts smiled broadly and said “I could have told you that.” or “You should frame that!”, family were simply impressed (most of them don’t read fantasy so don’t judge them too harshly). They suddenly jumped on the support platform with a lot more verve. Now that was a boost worth paying for!
Once I get the editing back from the first half, I’ll finish the second and then upload with a new cover to go along with the marketing ad I’m working on. I wish I’d thought of the editor before I sent the book up to Kindle in the first place, but hey I’m NEW at this! 🙂
- Workshop: Editing Your Prose (victoriaoldham.wordpress.com)
- A Good Editor is Hard to Find (kellielarsenmurphy.com)
- Committing to Manuscript Improvement (writesbymoonlight.wordpress.com)
- Your Manuscript and The Home Edit (kellielarsenmurphy.com)