Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Blossoming or On Working With an Editor

I've worked long and hard on my current novel, and now I'm looking forward to it blossoming in ways I never imagined. Why? Because I'm taking on a new adventure: working with an editor.

I made a promise to myself and AA when I first pitched her the idea for my YA novel - that I'd make this manuscript the very best it can be. When the time is right, I'm committed she be able to shop my book around with enthusiastic confidence.

As many of you know, I've recently completed the fifth draft of my novel. I feel it's close to where it needs to be for submission, but as we all know, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. In submitting a novel for submission, especially by a debut author, close isn't even in the ballpark. (I vow to use every cliche I know at least once on my blog, since I love them like my first HS boyfriend, and they're taboo in novels!)

AA suggested I consider hiring an editor and I've decided to take her advice. I feel I've come as far as I can with fleshing out characters and massaging plot points. I've also had six people read (i.e., "beta" readers) the book and their comments have been overwhelmingly positive, which is great, but hasn't given me any new direction. I know the book is not quite there. A completely unbiased, professional set of eyes reading and editing my work and pointing out places where the story has not reached its full potential is an exciting proposition.

So, I'm looking forward to working with brilliant editor, Gretchen Stelter, and can't wait to see where my ms ends up. If you have any specific questions regarding the editing process, leave them in the "comment" section and I'll address them in an upcoming post.

Maybe I'll even bring in AA and BE (brilliant editor) for a question/answer at some point. Let me know if that's something you'd be interested in.

What about you? Have you ever worked with an editor? If so, how did it go? And, where are you on your path to publication?

31 comments:

Karen Walker said...

Hi Deb,
My memoir took on a whole new dimension once I started working with a professional editor. It was an amazing experience. It was hard work, but so well worth it. wishing you the best in your re-working process.
Karen

Debra L. Schubert said...

Karen, I'm glad to hear about your experience working with an editor. I'm looking forward to seeing where my novel goes from here!

Jemi Fraser said...

I think it will be a great experience to work with an editor - can't wait to hear more about the process. Have fun with it :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jemi, I'm nervous and excited. Anything to make the story better. ;-)

Ruthanne Reid said...

Would LOVE LOVE LOVE a Q&A!

I am about to submit a full. I am neeeervous. O_O

Lisa Gail Green said...

I did work with an editor long ago on my first manuscript (which I later put far away in a dark drawer) and learned a lot. But, I think finding a good critique group and beta readers is what has worked best for me. I like to see what elements are pointed out by more than one person. Those are harder to ignore. :D Now I am doing revisions with an editor who may potentially be interested in one of my manuscripts and I have to say her editorial letter is like gold.

Catherine said...

Yes. I'm currently working with Lisa Rector-Maass on my first manuscript. After receiving feedback from a couple of agents (with an offer to read once revised, so yay!), I realized my novel was not 'all it could be'.

Working with Lisa is incredible - it is much like working with a personal writing guru!. :)

We've spent some time on my opening, plot, characterization, pacing, tension - everything, really. While we've still got quite a bit to cover...I have more confidence in my writing at this point.

I hope you have as fantastic an experience working with your editor.

Catherine

Debra L. Schubert said...

Ruthanne, I'll try to make a Q&A happen, and good luck w/the full!!!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Lisa, I also worked w/an editor once before on my first "real" novel. I learned a ton, but the book was such a mess and the editor had never worked with a published or agented writer before.

This time, the book is in pretty good shape and the editor has worked with many published writers, so I'm excited to see where my novel goes from here.

Best of luck to you - it sounds like you're on the right path!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Catherine, Good for you. Writing is one of those things that "the more you know, the more there is to know." Working w/an established editor w/tons of experience is a true gift. Keep me posted!

Beth Mann said...

I am jealous. I'm nearly finished with my first draft and WOULD LOVE to work with an editor, just not sure I can afford it! Hope the process is everything you want/need it to be. Feel free to share ANY valuable information you learn - your "poor" readers will thank you! ;P

Debra L. Schubert said...

Beth, You're funny. I'll be sure to share what I learn along the way re: working w/an editor. And like I said, maybe I'll see if she'll drop in and give some words of wisdom. ;-)

Kimberly Franklin said...

Your MS is going to be so shiny and pretty after you get finished editing it with an editor. So cool! You'll have the publishing houses lining up to offer you a deal. :)

Jo Treggiari said...

I worked with an independent editor (post beta readers) on a sequel to my first published book. Although that book ended up not being published ( problems at the publishing house) I recommend it. Having a professional with fresh, sharp eyes look at your manuscript can only make it better. My freelance editor had been my agent (before she left the business) so I had worked with her before on revisions and I knew she was savvy. I would suggest that writers seeking out indie editors make sure they are legit and the fee not too exorbitant, and of course editors who want a percentage of future money should be avoided like the plague. My editor charged either a flat fee or a per page fee, and she wrote a lengthy editorial letter and also gave me a line edit on the manuscript.
Since that non-selling book I have written a new book, signed with a new agent who sold it to Scholastic (summer 2011 pub date). Working with my Scholastic editor has been a great experience too.
Good luck, Debra!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kim, You are so sweet! I just sent you a copy. Tx so much for offering to read. I may just have to send you some chocolate! ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jo, Thanks so much for sharing your experience of working w/editors, and congrats on the recent sale of your second book! I'd love to hear more about it.

Robin said...

Obviously, nowhere close to this myself, but I am very interested to hear how it turns out for you. I really hope that you and your editors fine tune your manuscript into something sharp and sellable!

Paul Michael Murphy said...

I would have edited it for free.


(And you probably would have got what you paid for.)

Michele Shaw said...

I'm waiting to get my ms back from my editor (my 1st novel, my 1st editor). I know this will be a HUGE learning experience, even after feedback from several betas. Hopefully, I'll take it to the next level.

Laci said...

I just got my YA manuscript back from Gretchen and she is BRILLIANT! You'll love her inputs and suggestions. She helped me fully develop a much better plot and gave me the nudge I needed to make this baby the work of art it was intended to be. I'm half way done with the rewrite and it's turing out so good. NOW next on my list, an agent. I know I did it backwards.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Robin, Thanks so much. I'm excited to work w/Gretchen. I've met her in person, and she's the bomb. I'll keep you posted on the process.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Murph, You're so generous. I'll keep you in mind for my next project. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Michele, Good for you for working w/an editor - you'll definitely learn a lot. I did when I worked w/an editor on my first novel. This is exciting b/c I know my agent will be shopping the book around as soon as I nail it.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Laci, This is SUCH great news!!! Having a polished ms is exactly what you need to catch the interest of an agent. You didn't do it backwards - you did it the way you're meant to do it. ;-)

Laci said...

Why thank you Deb. At least you have met Gretchen in person. Mine has only been through emails but I can still tell she is a lovely person. Can you tell I'm kinds protective? :)

Jill said...

If I had the money, I'd work with a professional editor in a heartbeat! I'd also do just about anything for a great critique group.

My only experience with one was when a guy from my old critique group hired a prof. ed. because he didn't feel satisfied with our critiques. He brought in the professional's critique to show us--and would you believe the professional said exactly what we'd been telling him for months? His book was flawless, but completely lacked emotion.

June G said...

I was wondering what the status of your book was and I stopped by. My timing was perfect! Can't wait to hear how it goes. I'm on my third round of revisions. Whew! Almost as much work as writing that first draft. This editing is not for the faint of heart. Wishing you all the best, but I'm sure you'll be fine.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Laci, Gretchen rocks, plain and simple. So glad you found her. How did you find her, btw?

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jill, RE: Finding an editor: It's best to get a referral or, just like finding an agent, do your research. Also, they may not be as expensive as you think. You should look into it. ;-))

Debra L. Schubert said...

June, Glad you stopped by! So much of writing is editing. Best of luck to you as you move forward with your book. Be sure to keep me posted on your progress. ;-)

Laci said...

Oh, so sorry Deb. I didn't see you asked me another question. OOPS! How I met Gretchen? Oddly enough, She requested a partial from a query I sent her back when she was an agent.

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